OREGON EDUCATORS AND UTILITIES TEAM UP
TO MAKE OREGON STUDENTS 'ENERGY SMART'
PORTLAND, Ore., Nov. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- In an unprecedented cooperative effort, Portland General Electric (PGE), Northwest Natural Gas (NNG) and the state departments of energy and education today kicked off Energy Smarts, a classroom curriculum for grades K through 12, the organizations announced today. The program will encourage students and their parents to learn how to use energy more efficiently at home.
Energy Smarts is the second phase of the previously announced Energy Efficiency in Oregon Schools (EEOS) program. The first phase of the program deals with retrofitting school facilities with energy- efficient equipment.
Pacific Power is also contributing to the effort by bringing Energy Smarts to schools in its northeast Portland service territory and will add the curriculum to its program at the Madison cluster of schools in December. Madison High School is Portland's magnet school for environmental studies.
Originally developed by Portland General Electric and the state, EEOS has been enhanced by the addition of Northwest Natural Gas as a full partner on the project. Through this partnership, the program may now be initiated statewide.
Those participating in today's announcement at Lincoln High School included: Norma Paulus, state superintendent of public instruction; Kay Stepp, president of PGE; Bruce Sampson, senior vice president of public affairs and general counsel, Northwest Natural Gas; and Tom Imeson, vice president of government and public affairs, Pacific Power.
"We developed this program not only because we want to help Oregon schools get the most out of their limited funds," said Stepp, "but also because we are truly committed to environmental responsibility. Energy efficiency is the resource with the least economic and environmental cost. We must begin today to build energy awareness in tomorrow's adults and to draw a strong relationship between energy and the environment."
Different Energy Smart programs have been developed for each grade.
The eighth and ninth grade curriculum puts the student in three separate roles -- investigator, computer technician and home-energy expert. In the investigator role, the student works through a study guide in which he or she reads about energy efficiency and the environment and then does an energy audit in his or her home. The audit includes questions on home heating and cooling, water use, kitchen appliances, lighting and home electronics.
In the role of computer technician, the student takes the information from his or her audit and enters it into a computer, following specific formatting instructions. The participating utility then transfers that information to a computer at the utility and, using historic energy billing data, makes recommendations and dollar- saving estimates for each child's home.
Armed with the utility report, the student becomes a home-energy expert and shows his or her parents what needs to be done and how much money can be saved. The report will include special utility programs, a free energy-efficient shower head and recommendations on everything from energy-efficient lighting to recycling. Students are encouraged to compete for who can save the most power in their home.
The eighth and ninth grade Energy Smarts program, called "In Concert with the Environment," was developed by EcoGroup of Tempe, Ariz., and was first tested in three Phoenix-area high schools by Arizona Public Service, that area's largest utility. Arizona Public Service has now extended the program statewide.
Portland General Electric, Northwest Natural Gas and Pacific Power, in association with Oregon schools, are developing the Energy Smarts curriculum for grades K through seven. The program consists of 32 different modules with six student activities and information on a specific energy-efficient project. For example, in The Battle of the Bulbs, students learn that incandescent bulbs give off 90 percent of their energy as heat instead of light. They are asked to count the bulbs in their home and note the different types.
Other module topics include: Curtain Caper, The Lawn Ranger, Watt's It All About? and Let's Grow Green. The K through seven program begins in the first quarter of 1992.
Grades ten through 12 are offered a grant program in which students and teachers are encouraged to develop their own programs on energy efficiency. Grants of up to $500 are offered.
The EEOS program, including the Energy Smarts component, is being test marketed in 11 Oregon schools this fall. If the pilot is successful, it will then be extended to the rest of the state.
The first phase of the EEOS program, announced earlier, concentrates on facilities and can save schools 15 to 30 percent on energy bills through energy audits, maintenance training and installations of new energy-efficient equipment such as timers to automatically start heating systems, high-efficiency lighting and new energy-efficiency equipment, regardless of the energy source. Over the next five years, these measures could mean a savings of $15 million to $20 million, in addition to delaying the need to construct new power plants, keeping energy costs down and protecting the environment. Pacific Power has already been working to improve energy efficiency in schools under its BEST (Better Energies in Schools Today) program which began in 1988.
/CONTACT: Roxanne Bailey of Portland General Electric, 503-464-8466; or Deston Nokes of Northwest Natural Gas, 503-220-2416; or Mike O'Bryant of Pacific Power, 503-682-4231/ CO: Portland General Electric; Northwest Natural Gas; Pacific Power ST: Oregon IN: OIL SU: JH-SC -- SE008 -- 1913 11/06/91 17:00 EST