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Energy patrol saved $25,000 for their school.

"Oops, you left your lights on," read the note taped to the switch plate. The Energy Patrol had struck again!

In a classroom at the DeVargas Elementary School in San Jose, California, the note was a reminder to teacher and students that they had not turned off lights when leaving the room. It had been put up by memebers of the Energy Patrol, students who check thermostats and lights in classrooms, the auditorium, closets, and even the principal's office.

The goal of the Energy Patrol program is to conserve energy and, at the same time, save money. Results have exceeded expectations--the school's utility bills have dropped an average of 36 percent. Principal Jerd Ferraiuolo, who developed the program, estimates it has saved DeVargas more than $25,000 in for yours, and since similar programs started in neighboring schools, the 22 schools of the Cupertino Union School District, which includes DeVargas, have saved about $300,000.

Ferraiuolo stresses that the Energy Patrol program not only saves money, it teaches responsibility. It's also easy to operate and doesn't take class time. Others agree on the program's merits: last fall, the DeVargas Energy Patrol received a national award for energy innovation from the U.S. Department of Energy.

A role that students covet

"You can't talk long to kids about kilowatts and therms, but they do understand about money," points out Ferraiulo. And many look forward to being on the patrol. Each school term, teachers choose 20 fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-graders to make up the Energy Patrol. Teams of four students, each wearing a coveted Energy Patrol jacket and an identifying badge, take turns making a daily sweep through the school at lunch, recess, and the end of the day. The chart each classroom's record for turning off lights and keeping the recommended thermostat setting, then present energy-conservation awards at monthly school assemblies.

"It carries over to home, too," says one patrol member. "I race around the house turning off lights in empty rooms."
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Copyright 1986 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Mar 1, 1986
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