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TVA and MLGW Partner To Give Students, Teachers Opportunity to Save Money for their Schools and Learn about Energy Efficiency
February 22, 2010
(February 22, 2010) - Eight schools (Alcy Elementary, Brewster Elementary, Carnes Elementary, Douglass High School, Bon Lin ES, Collierville High, Millington High, Riverdale) in the Memphis area are participating in a new pilot program offered by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and Memphis Light, Gas and Water (MLGW) Division designed to save energy and money for the schools while enhancing the students' understanding of energy efficiency.

During the first quarter of the Green Schools pilot program, which was launched in August 2009, energy-efficiency measures implemented at Memphis area schools resulted in a combined savings of $3,327 or 17,624 kilowatt-hours.

Also participating in Green Schools pilot program with TVA are Knoxville Utilities Board and the Johnson City Power Board. TVA and these distributors of TVA power will use results from the pilot programs to determine its potential for other schools across the Tennessee Valley.

"Students are really excited about this real-world experience where they can apply math and science skills to actually create energy audits for their schools, see where power is being wasted in the schools as well as at home and where they can conserve energy," said Clint Richardson, Manager, Customer Relations, Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division.

Jolyn Newton, program manager for TVA Energy Efficiency Education and Outreach, said students are learning how adjusting thermostats by just one or two degrees can save money and conserve energy. Students have formed energy patrols to remind teachers and classmates to turn off lights, power strips, computers and other equipment when not being used.

"They are turning off banks of lights in classrooms on sunny days and turning all lights off for short periods of time as part of the energy-saving measures," Richardson said. "They are learning behavioral changes that will carry into their adult lives at home and at work. Its amazing to see the enthusiasm the students are expressing for this hands-on learning project."

MLGW and TVA leaders also say that the program gives students and staff at participating schools the knowledge and resources to help them become more aware of the link between energy efficiency and the environment. The Green Schools program is offered by the national Alliance to Save Energy, based in Washington, D.C. TVA chose the Green Schools Program after researching other national programs.

Teachers in each school participated in an introductory workshop at the beginning of the school year that helped the energy patrols work together to create customized plans for saving energy in school, creating school-wide energy awareness, and taking the message home and into the local community. Throughout the year, each school received information on its monthly energy usage and support from frequent school visits by local project leaders from the Alliance to Save Energy. School teams then came together again for a midyear planning meeting in January and will participate in a celebration at the end of the school year.

At the midyear meeting student groups made presentations. Some wrote and sang songs encouraging energy efficient behavior in their school, conducted interviews for school TV channels, made audit reports, created science fair-style projects and designed energy conservation PowerPoint presentations. Representatives from the Alliance to Save Energy, MLGW and TVA participated in the meetings.

Schools across the nation have realized energy cost savings of 5 percent to 15 percent from their participation in the Green Schools program. Participating schools receive a small stipend to compensate staffers for their time planning for the program. More information about Green Schools is available at http://ase.org/section/program/greenschl.

Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division is the largest three-service public utility in the United States, serving more than 429,000 in Memphis and Shelby County. MLGW is TVA's largest customer. According to a January, 2010 study, MLGWs electric rates were the fifth lowest in the nation.

The Tennessee Valley Authority, a corporation owned by the U.S. government, provides electricity for utility and business customers in most of Tennessee and parts of Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia an area of 80,000 square miles with a population of 9 million. TVA operates 29 hydroelectric dams, 11 coal-fired power plants, 3 nuclear plants and 11 natural gas-fired power facilities and supplies up to 36,000 megawatts of electricity, delivered over 16,000 miles of high-voltage power lines. TVA also provides flood control, navigation, land management and recreation for the Tennessee River system and works with local utilities and state and local governments to promote economic development across the region. TVA, which makes no profits and receives no taxpayer money, is funded by sales of electricity to its customers. Electricity prices in TVAs service territory are below the national average.