The ReNew Our Schools contest is an energy conservation competition among middle and high schools in the Boulder Valley, St. Vrain, and Garfield Re-2 School Districts. The schools that reduce their energy use by the greatest percentage win prizes valued up to $25,000.

ReNew Our Schools is a program of the Center for Resource Conservation (CRC) and funded by a private family foundation.  This contest has been created  via a grant from the Colorado Governor's Energy Office (GEO).

Contest Dates: November 8, 2011 – January 6, 2012

How it works:
Each school’s score will be measured in a percentage difference of kilowatt-hours (kWh) from a combination of three sources:

  1. Measured electrical energy savings in the school
  2. “Deemed” (estimated) savings for energy saving measures adopted by homes
  3. “Deemed” (estimated) savings from energy saving measures recommended by the students in a given school.


School savings:
Before the contest begins, each school will have its “baseline” data calculated. The baseline data is the average energy usage from November-January for the following school years: 2008-2009, 2009-2010, 2010-2011. Electric meter readings during the contest will be compared to the baseline data, and the percentage difference will form part of the school’s score.

Home energy savings:
Each home that commits to household energy saving tactics will earn ‘deemed savings’. Households can receive credit for signing up for the local energy efficiency program or by implementing no-cost / low-cost tactics. Family members will fill out a “Home Energy Action Checklist” to take actions that save energy. The maximum energy savings for each house will be limited so that families can reach the total amount by choosing free or low-cost tactics that rely on behavior changes. They can also reach their total by spending modest amounts to make home improvements or by using a combination of both. In other words, saving energy can depend just as much on what you DO as on what you spend.

School and home energy savings will be combined to determine the total savings for the school. The school that reduces its energy use by the greatest percentage will be the overall contest winner. Parent teacher organizations that commit to promoting the contest will also receive cash prizes for the home energy savings within their given school community.
Learn More (below would be a bullet list w/ each bullet a link to more detailed instructions)

You can download your Home Energy Action Checklist here and begining saving energy and money now.

Within the City of Boulder, parent teacher organizations (PTOs) can win prizes too?  City of Boulder staff will post the rules for these prizes soon.

Prizes:
The schools will be divided into two groups. The winner of each group will receive a prize valued up to $25,000 with the overall third place school winning a slightly smaller prize. The main prize given will be a solar array. However, if the winning school already has a solar array, an alternative energy improvement prize will be given. The prize will be chosen with input from the district’s Sustainability Coordinator, the ReNew Our Schools Contest Coordinators, and the students and staff of the school.

Smaller prizes will be given for the schools that reduce their energy usage the most over Thanksgiving and the Winter Break. If the breaks are different lengths for each school, the average daily use of electricity over the break will be used to determine the winner.  Parent teacher organizations within the City of Boulder that commit to promoting the contest in their school community’s homes can also win cash prizes.

If a school plans to compete in the mini-contests (Thanksgiving and Winter Break), meter pictures will need to be submitted the day before and the day after the break.

There will also be a ‘best effort’ prize.  This will be judged based on the sudent suggestions for improvements in their school, creativity, tenacity, and how well a student group documents it's efforts (documents, pictures, videos).

Meter readings:
During the contest, schools will need to submit a legible digital picture of the kWh reading on their electricity meter of every Tuesday during the contest (except when school is not in session). If school is not in session on a Tuesday, please submit the reading on the closest day to Tuesday during that week. The submitted information will be used to update the school’s electricity usage on the website.

If it appears that a school is not reading the utility meter correctly, the contest coordinators will compare the submitted data to the school’s utility bill and adjusted accordingly.

We reserve the right to normalize data for variables such as increases in population, size of school, or any other differences between schools when deemed appropriate. If normalization is needed, we will use the Energy Star rating system to do so. http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=evaluate_performance.pt_neprs_learn

Support:
We want to see schools succeed in this contest!
Therefore, each school will be provided with:
1) email and phone support
2) checklists of no cost, low cost, and medium cost options to save energy in school and homes
3) shutdown lists that will guide schools in what energy saving measures should be implemented over school breaks and long weekends
4) tools to help the students evaluate the energy conditions in the school: kill-o-watts, light meters, thermometers.
5) an online data portal to show each school its weekly energy usage
6) CoPIRG’s Energy Service Corps interns that will help the students tackle the ‘energy saving’ tasks and read their meters.