Charlottesville City Schools and the City’s Energy and Water Management Team are working together to reduce the energy and water footprint of all City schools.
In 2019, the School Board approved an Energy and Water Performance resolution, showing a commitment to achieving and maintaining high performing school facilities.
Continuing on past efforts, the City’s maintenance and development teams are specifying high efficiency building equipment, such as high-efficiency chillers and LED lighting, and are enhancing operational control through advanced building automation systems.
Charlottesville Schools and the City’s Energy and Water Management Team continue to investigate ways to accelerate the installation of high performance equipment throughout our schools.
The City is also working with each school to raise awareness about energy and water saving practices through education and outreach efforts that include distributing educational materials and providing tips and strategies that students and faculty can use to reduce the energy and water impact at our schools.
Each quarter a different theme emphasizes aspects of energy and water efficiency/conservation.
Spring 2021: Make Your New Actions be your New Normal
Last quarter, we discussed Pick and Action! Do an Action! Hopefully you have had time to develop your water and energy saving actions so far and are working hard to do these at home and eventually at school too! The Energy and Water Management Program wants to help you make this action be your new normal and remind you to do your actions each day. Try putting out physical reminders or making your new energy and water saving action the easy choice.
For example, if your water action is turning the water off while you brush your teeth, put a reminder sign on your mirror to turn off the tap. This small action might not seem like a lot of water savings, but you are saving up to 4 gallons of water each time you brush your teeth, which adds up to saving over 2,900 gallons of water a year (enough water to fill up 70 bathtubs)!
Over the next few months, work on doing your saving action and share your reminder strategy with your friends, classmates, and family. Each water and energy saving action can have a big impact when we do it each day.
- Reminders: Use reminders such as signs or notes where you need to do your action.
- Schedule: Schedule your actions into your daily schedule and make sure you give yourself enough time to do them.
- Make it Easy: Set yourself up to succeed by making it easy to do your action over the energy wasting or water wasting choice.
Have questions about this program? Contact the City’s Energy and Water Management Team at EnergyWaterTeam@charlottesville.gov and learn more at charlottesville.gov/EnergyWater.
Learn more about other green initiatives at Charlottesville City Schools here.
Winter 2021: Pick an Action! Do an Action!
Put your knowledge into action–pick an action that helps you save energy and water at home and at school!
We started off the school year strong with a new commitment to save energy and water. Now it is time to put your knowledge into action! The Energy and Water Management Program wants you to pick an action that helps you save energy and water and start to do it! Each time you do your action, you will help save more energy and water, and combined with all of your classmates, you all will have a positive impact helping Charlottesville be more sustainable! You can start small with just one action and work on repeating it each week or each day. Grow your action by getting your friends and family involved and see who can be the most consistent at doing your energy and water saving action! Together we will all have a big impact to save energy and water in Charlottesville.
- Start off small: Pick a small action like turning lights off as you leave a room or turning the faucet off when scrubbing your hands with soap (or choose your own!).
- Repeat, repeat, repeat: Do your energy and water saving action over and over again, each day!
- Grow your action: Expand your action to save more energy and water by including your family!
Fall 2020: New school year, new commitment to save energy and water!
Whether we are at school or at home this fall, the City’s Energy and Water Management Team has some great tips to help us reduce our energy and water consumption.
Energy and water are essential resources we need to use everyday; however, they also require a lot of effort including money and hard work to make into electricity for our lights or clean, safe water to drink. In addition, the overuse of these resources can have bad impacts on our environment even here in Charlottesville.
So, let’s start the school year with a new commitment to save when we can by following some of these important tips and actions we learned last year.
- Only Use What You Need: Turn off the lights and faucet when you are done!
- If You See Something, Say Something: Report a water leak or an open door to an adult.
- Reduce Our Energy and Water Waste: Use a reusable water bottle and unplug electronics when not in use.
2019-20 Education and Outreach
Summer Quarter: This summer the Energy and Water Management Team wants you to take what you learned around how to save energy and water at school and apply it at home!
Let’s first focus on reducing our energy waste at home. This can look like turning the lights off when you leave a room, making sure you power down and unplug electronics when you are not using them, and making sure doors and windows aren’t left open when your home’s heating or air conditioning is running.
When you look at water, there are some easy ways we can reduce our water waste at home. Remember to always turn the water off when not in use (like while we are brushing our teeth), don’t forget to fill up your reusable water bottle with tap water when you are thirsty, and if you see dripping faucet or running toilet tell an adult to fix it! Plus, if you help your family with some gardening projects outside, look to the weather to do the watering work or collect rainwater to use for watering later.
This summer let’s all commit to saving energy and water. Take this pledge and start implementing these easy steps at home today!
This summer I pledge to be an energy and water saver at home!
- I pledge to turn the lights off when I leave a room,
- I pledge to power down and unplug electronics when I’m finished with them,
- I pledge to close windows and doors when my home’s heating and cooling systems are on,
- I pledge to turn the water off when not in use,
- I pledge to use a reusable water bottle instead of a single-use plastic bottle,
- I pledge to report water leaks as soon I see them,
- I pledge to come back to school in the fall ready to keep saving energy and water!
You are now ready to be an energy and water saver! Together we can all have a huge impact at home and at school.
Activity Sheets for Grades K-4
Activity Sheets for Grades 5-12
Paper copies of the activity sheets were included with our summer meal distribution program. Copies can also be found in the main office of each school building, or you can contact the Energy and Water Management Team, at EnergyWaterTeam@Charlottesville.gov.
Spring Quarter: Reducing our Energy and Water Waste
This spring the Energy and Water Management Team is back with more reminders to help us trim up our energy and water use!
Help our school reduce energy waste! Make sure outside doors close behind you and tell an adult if propped open. This will help keep our cooled and heated air inside our school rather than letting it escape through open doors to the outside!
Don’t forget to bring your reusable water bottle along with you wherever you go! Fill it up from tap water, which comes from our rivers and is cleaned to make it safe and taste good. Before dumping out any left over water, think reusable by giving it to some plants that would happily enjoy that water.
Spring Quarter Tips:
1. Keep outside doors closed
2. Fill up your reusable water bottle with tap water
3. If you see a water leak or an open outside door, report it!
If we each reduce our energy and water waste at school and at home by focusing on these easy habits,together we can have a real impact.
Winter Quarter: Understanding our Energy and Water Use
Did you know that the greenhouse gases produced from energy used at all 10 Charlottesville City Schools is equal to the greenhouse gases produced by 500 homes? We know our schools need resources to operate but what exactly uses energy and water in our schools every day?
We are asking students and faculty to try to identify what uses energy and water when you walk into your classroom each day. For energy, think about the overhead lighting, computers, electronics, and air conditioning/heating. For water, think about the water fountain in the hallway and sink in your classroom. What about at home?
There are also the items that aren’t as noticeable such as leaving your phone plugged in even when it’s fully charged or not paying attention to that dripping faucet. Even when a phone is plugged in and is fully charged, it still uses 2.24 watts of energy, and that slow drip…drip…drip of a faucet can waste 3,000 gallons of water a year!
Let’s reduce our energy and water impact at school and at home by focusing on these easy habits we can do each day.
Winter Quarter Tips:
- Turn the lights off when you leave a room.
- Make an effort to unplug personal electronics.
- Turn the water off when not in use.
- If you see a water leak or hear a running toilet, report it!
Fall Quarter: The Value of Energy and Water
The energy and water that we use at home and in our school are typically provided using finite resources. In Virginia, fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas) are used to produce over 60% of the electricity that we use, with nuclear and renewables making up the rest. We also use natural gas directly to heat our school and to heat our water. The water we use is pumped from reservoirs fed by rivers and is treated before coming to our homes and school as clean, potable water. Simply put, our demand for electricity, natural gas, and water (the amount we use) has a direct impact on these resources. We have a responsibility to manage what we use but we’re also empowered with the ability to make lasting change.
In many cases we use more than we need, so we already have simple opportunities to reduce our impact. The best place to start is just becoming aware of when and how we use energy and water throughout our typical day. As you do your normal activities, think about how long you leave your lights on, leave your phone plugged in, and leave the water running. Now think about how you can adjust your behaviors to trim that up a bit. It’s a game of inches, not miles, and small changes add up to big savings.
Fall Quarter Tips:
- Last one out? Flip the switch!
- Turn the water off when not in use.