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Changing Energy Consumption Habits: You Can Do It Too!

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A School’s Journey with a Lights Off Initiative and Classroom Checks…

Amazing #WasteLess energy initiatives are spreading throughout our schools in Nova Scotia. The best way to start planning an initiative is to find out what others are already doing and learn from them; you don’t have to reinvent the wheel, and this way you will be making your energy-saving initiative even better! 

When the Green Team at Dr J. C. Wickwire Academy decided to launch a whole school Lights Off initiative, they started by learning from others. Since schools in the South Shore and Annapolis Valley School Boards have done these campaigns in the past, I was able to share local success stories with these student leaders, including some insights into what works and what doesn’t work. To help kick off the school-wide initiative, the Green Team invited me to a school assembly to explain why we need to look after the Earth, and what behaviours can we begin to change. For example, we can save energy by opening the blinds during the day to use natural light and using lights only when needed. Starting with a strong foundation about energy, this school started helping the Earth by working together!

This Green Team wanted to plan something similar to this story: “Start An Earth-Friendly Habit Like West Northfield Elementary“. The twist they wanted to add was to help students change their habits by introducing daily Classroom Checks, a monitoring project that has been done successfully at New Minas Elementary School. That means it’s up to the Green Team to check energy use in each of the nineteen classrooms daily.

If you provide students with a clipboard and pen, they are quick to get to work! 

After a month of classroom checks, the Green Team members were keen to find out the top two classrooms that had the best results and would receive the Wickwire Earth Keeper Award. They were mindful to have an award that was Earth-friendly and they were super excited to each sign the back of the tree cookie. The Green Team Leader, Adam Leuschner, has done an amazing job making the awards!

At the assembly, the Earth Keeper Awards were handed out to two classrooms who worked really hard to always open the blinds, turn off lights and electronics when not in use, and only turn on lights if needed. The students were very excited to have their hard work recognized by having the special tree cookie in their classroom. At the next school assembly, the next two Earth Keeper Classrooms will be named. Congratulations to the many Earth Keepers at Wickwire Academy!

Natalie McMaster
Engagement Officer


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