Students from Polo Park Middle School are headed to Miami Wednesday night for a big reward. It’s not about academics, but energy conservation.
Polo Park Middle School science teachers enjoy drilling energy conservation into their class plans. Last December, Dale Moore, a science teacher decided to put the entire student body to the test by signing the school up for the Miami Heat “How low can you go?” challenge. It’s an energy conservation contest among more than 200 schools, 109 in South Florida alone, vying for the title of top school for energy reduction.
“I think there’s a couple different messages – one is that everybody can have their part,” said Moore. “Everybody does a little bit and right here is a perfect example.”
According to Michael Aronson, the school’s principal, faculty, staff and students were told to turn out lights when they left the classroom, restrooms and offices. Additionally, blinds were opened to utilize natural light. And new chillers were installed.
Progress was tracked from December through February. The end result was double-digit reductions in reduced energy.
“We saved over $16,000 and reduced energy by over 40-percent during those three months from this time last year,” Aronson said.
Polo Park students will not only receive bragging rights but an award to be presented during the half-time show between the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night. 10 students were selected to attend the game.
”I’m still shocked and I’m so happy,” Moore said. “We’ve done a big part for the community and the environment and our kids get rewarded for that so I think they really see that there is a lot more to saving energy than just turning off a light switch.”
District-wide Palm Beach County Schools reduced energy by an average of 10-percent and saved $126,000, according to Julie Houston Trieste, media relations specialist for Palm Beach County Schools.