- Renewable Energy
Renewable energy is energy generated from natural resources such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, and geothermal heat. They are a viable supplement to traditional fossil fuel systems and offer many benefits. Renewable energy can contribute to reduced energy costs and reduced air pollution. Renewable energy systems used in schools also demonstrate to students and the community technologies that will fuel the 21st century.
- Cost of Renewable Energy
Over the past two decades, the cost of renewable energy systems has dropped dramatically. Wind turbines can now produce electricity at less than 4 cents per kilowatt-hour – a seven-fold reduction in energy cost. Photovoltaic systems and solar thermal installations will provide electricity and heat for many years, paying back their costs. Geothermal systems have been effectively demonstrated in Connecticut to provide both heating and cooling for schools. State incentive programs, as well as commercial leases have greatly reduced district costs for some of these systems.
Incorporating renewable energy into the school design helps students learn firsthand about these cost-effective and energy-efficient options. Input from teachers early in the design process will help assure that the energy features that these systems demonstrate can be observed and explored as a part of the learning experience. Buildings used as learning laboratories offer students intriguing, interactive insight into relevant topics like energy and the environment.