Avon Old Farms 'Powers Down' for Electricity Conservation Contest

The Green Cup Energy Challenge lasts until Feb. 15.

The reduced electricity use on campus by 19 percent in 2010, winning its division for the Green Cup Energy Challenge.

Now students are aiming to take the prize again in 2012 as they compete in the challenge once again.

In its third consecutive year of participating in the Northeast Boarding School Division of the national electricity conservation contest, the all-boys private school is "gearing up" by "powering down," according to school spokesman Michael Dembicer.

The challenge started Jan. 18 and lasts until Feb. 15.

"Avon's motivation to reduce our electricity consumption comes in part from our pledge to reduce our carbon footprint in a measurable way, which we took when we joined the Green Schools Alliance in 2009," Graham Callaghan, English department chairman and the school's organizer for the energy challenge, said in statement provided to Avon Patch.

In 2011, Avon Old Farms reduced energy use by 3.9 percent, Callaghan said. So far this year, Avon Old Farms is at a 9.1 percent reduction. That's 3 percent away from the current leader, Callaghan said.

Avon Old Farms has embraced the green energy initiative on its campus by upgrading to more energy efficient lighting and installing climate control systems. The school also has a solar array.

"Although improving the energy efficiency of our facilities is crucial to meeting our pledge, examining the ways in which we use electricity as a community is also important," Callaghan said.

"The Green Cup Challenge is one such way that we attempt to raise awareness about our habits regarding energy consumption," he said. "For the month of the challenge, much attention is given to daily uses (and abuses) of energy with the hope that changing habits for the month of the GCC will translate into better long-term habits."

To up the ante to the contest, Avon Old Farms holds competitions between dorms. Students also attend educational programs about "electricity production" and "good-energy use practices," Dembicer said.

The students have also submitted a public service video about sustainability, which can be viewed and voted for on http://www.greenschoolsalliance.org under the tab for the 2012 video contest.

"Again, raising awareness now will hopefully translate into better practices in the future, or at least provide opportunity to discuss and to consider our relationship to energy, our environment, and natural resources," Callaghan said.

More information about the Green Cup Energy Challenge, please visit http://www.greenschoolsalliance.org/

Editor's Note: If you think any corrections need to be made to this article, contact Avon Patch Editor Jessie Sawyer at 860-356-6339 or Jessie.Sawyer@patch.com. Join in on the Avon Patch conversation on Facebook (www.facebook.com/AvonPatch) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/AvonPatch). You can also add your own announcements and events or apply to blog on Patch.


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