Blog


Education in Action: Using Education to Influence Energy Efficiency Behavior

May 22, 2015
James Heier

We see it and utter it so often, “Our youth are like sponges, soaking up knowledge and absorbing everything around them.” Student government. Martial arts. Drama club. Soccer. Music lessons. No matter if it’s interscholastic or intramural activities, they are learning, doing…and sharing their experiences.(1)

After a jam-packed day of classes, in- and after-school programs, sports and/or clubs, kids are ready and eager to wring out their experiences. Enthusiasm and passion pour out of every story told – the fun fact from science class, what so and so said over lunch, which new club is being offered. There is no better audience to teach than our future generations. That’s why we’re seeing the trend of educational programs being introduced in the classroom by outside organizations, such as utility companies.

The Fountain of Knowledge
Conservation is becoming a world-wide concern. Action through energy efficiency and sustainability efforts is growing as knowledge is shared. And the best place to start is where habits are formed: our youth. Beyond being fast learners, kids and adolescents are quick adapters. Students across America are making energy-efficiency practices part of their day-to-day choices and behavior that simply become second nature.

The Trickle Effect
On top of stretching our nation’s energy use, these outside programs bring potential cost savings to each student’s home and bring families together through fun hands-on activities. Students exercise teamwork and individual responsibility and gain a better sense of community. Energy- and water-efficiency programs provide a channel for reinforcing the lessons learned in the classroom, offering students the opportunity to apply academic skills in a real-world context.

What’s more, these programs are considered part of a well-rounded education.(2) By design, they meet the state learning standards and EM&V requirements. According to the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), studies show that environmental education, such as energy- and water-efficiency education, engages students in learning, raises test scores, and encourages youth to pursue careers in environmental and natural resource fields. Tomorrow’s leaders need to be equipped for tomorrow’s challenges. It is essential to adequately prepare our children for the future they will inherit through real-world education and day-to-day engagement.(1)

Energy- and water-efficiency education brings a host of benefits to students, including rich, hands-on, real world, and relevant learning across the curriculum, specific critical thinking skills, cooperative learning (i.e., working in teams or with partners), and exposure to diverse natural settings. These educational programs also encourage families to work together towards energy- and water-efficiency in the home, engaging both children and their parents to create life-long behavior changes. Education travels from the school to the home, creating energy-literate households and communities.

Resource Action Programs Connects Education to Action
Education programs like those offered by Resource Action Programs take energy- and water-efficiency awareness through the classroom to homes across America. This has an even greater educational benefit for communities that have experienced reduced budgets for natural science and environment curriculum.

RAP’s energy- and water-efficiency education programs provide students with academic-based materials that are informative and entertaining. Students acquire knowledge about the role science and energy play in their lives through real-life scenarios. Interactive learning takes place as students measure the changes the kit products yield in their homes. Finally, career and workforce education is enhanced as students enjoy the “Job Profiles” presented at the close of each lesson.

Written by teachers, for teachers, lessons seamlessly integrate into existing lesson plans, to complement or replace existing curriculum while providing a wealth of information. Teachers love the curriculum and students’ test results prove the programs work.

For the utility partner, these programs offer verified energy and water savings, positive brand recognition, and they provide the opportunity to cross-promote other efficiency programs.

For more information on how Resource Action Programs can benefit your customers,
click here.

Resources:

1. Extracurricular Activities: The Path to Academic Success?
http://www.ascd.org/about-ascd.aspx
2. Extracurricular Participation and Student Engagement
http://nces.ed.gov/pubs95/web/95741.asp