Bronx High Schools Win $25,000 for Cutting Energy Use in Half

By Patrick Wall on April 24, 2012 2:39pm 

MORRISANIA — For some Bronx schools, it pays to go green.

The four high schools inside the Morris Educational Campus at 1110 Boston Rd. won $25,000 for their energy-saving efforts in grant money from the city’s Education and Citywide Administrative Services Departments.

The Morris Campus schools slashed their electricity use by 54.7 percent in March, beating out students in 102 other school buildings around the city who competed in an annual conservation competition called the Green Cup Challenge.

The top 10 energy-reducing schools cut their usage by an average of 34 percent and received grants totaling $100,000 to be used for conservation programs, according to the DOE.

"My hat goes off to our students and staff this year for a terrific job preserving our natural resources and reducing the carbon footprint for future generations," Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said Monday.

The Green Schools Alliance, a nonprofit network of public and private schools, launched the nationwide challenge five years ago.

The group said that by turning off lights, unplugging electronics and setting thermostats to 68 degrees, students in 22 states who participated in this year’s challenge were able to prevent 1.5 million pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.

"This shows our students are taking the lead when it comes to energy conservation," Green Schools Alliance president and founder, Peg Watson, said in a statement.

Three other high schools won grants for creating conservation-themed videos.

The Morris Campus schools were the only Bronx grant winners. The four small schools inside the turn-of-the-century building where Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave his State of the City speech this year are: Bronx International High School, the High School for Violin and Dance, Morris Academy for Collaborative Studies and the School for Excellence.

The DOE also recognized 27 schools who participate in the Recycling Champions program, led by the environmental nonprofit GrowNYC. (DNAinfo partnered with GrowNYC last spring to bring the program a Manhattan school.)

Staff at the schools receive professional development on recycling best practices, while students take part in Earth-friendly lessons and projects, said Robbie Lock, GrowNYC’s school recycling coordinator.

"It’s a mix of education and engagement," said Lock, "and also managing the practical aspects of setting up a really robust recycling program at the school."

The DOE singled out one Bronx school Monday, C.S. 211 in East Tremont, for recycling 35 percent of its waste.

Through the program, sixth-grade students at C.S. 211 also built solar ovens out of reused pizza boxes and seventh-graders mulched 15 trees around the campus, according to Lock.

Lock noted that the city’s 10 percent school recycling rate still lags behind the residential rate of 16 percent, but he said schools are making progress.

"There’s been a very concentrated effort over the last two years to bring school recycling to the forefront," Lock said. "They’re doing a much better job than they used to."

The schools inside the Morris Educational Campus won this year's Green Cup Challenge for their energy-saving efforts.
The schools inside the Morris Educational Campus won this year's Green Cup Challenge for their energy-saving efforts.
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DNAinfo/Patrick Wall

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