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Start an Earth-Friendly Habit like West Northfield Elementary!

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Turning lights off is a simple way to save energy. Lighting in schools is usually controlled by staff and students which means it’s a great place to begin wasting less energy every day!

When forming a new Earth-friendly habit, it helps to follow the three Rs- but this time we are not talking about Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, but rather Reminder, Routine, and Reward! I know, you were just learning the other three Rs, but these three Rs are easy and fun to learn, too!

When establishing a smart energy habit, like turning off the lights, first create a Reminder to cue the behaviour. Then establish the Routine of doing the habit over time, and lastly, create a Reward to reinforce the habit. When you use all three Rs the habit is more likely to stick. To get the best results from your school-wide energy-saving initiative, try using all three Rs!

Need some ideas for Lights Off reminders?

The dynamic Green Team at West Northfield Elementary School in the South Shore has been tackling energy waste from lights for several years. These active students want everyone in the school to have the positive energy habit of turning off the lights when they leave the room and use only the lights they need. When you walk through the school there are very few light switches that don’t have a reminder to ‘turn off the lights’. Last year they added a new reminder to help students and staff figure out which switches to use.

This Green Team has added red and green dot stickers to individual light switches.  The green dots are placed on switches for lights that use the least amount of energy. If lights are needed, students will turn on that switch first. The red dots are put on the switches for lights that use the most amount of energy, or for lights located near a window. These would be the lights that usually stay off. Reminders like these encourage staff and students to use natural light instead of electric light and turn off the lights when leaving their classrooms.

If your school is interested in saving energy, why not check out the Lights Off Monday Support Package? You’ll find an outline of a straightforward school-wide initiative that helps you start the week off on the right green foot so the participants will learn to waste less energy all week long! Remember, if you want a new Earth-friendly habit to stick, look at the simple strategies in the Classroom Checks Support Package!

Natalie McMaster
Engagement Officer, Southern NS


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