Rutland students work to cut energy consumption - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Rutland students work to cut energy consumption

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Christy Beauchamp is a Rutland High School freshman participating in the Energy in My Town program. Beauchamp and other students are examining their energy efficiency using a variety of skills, in different classes. Students are using math, English and science to learn how they can use less energy, save money, and affect their town and the world.

The program was started by Rutland High School teachers as a way to look at energy use and try to make money-saving and environmentally conscious decisions. Students started by taking a look at an energy bill in math class.

"So it was a real genuine electric bill and I went through the appliances and broke down what the kilowatt hours were per year," said Heather Sawyer, a math teacher.

"It was surprising, how much energy it used. It shocked me," Beauchamp said.

Students also calculated their carbon footprint and saw how making small adjustments can result in big changes.

"When you're brushing your teeth, you could turn off the water instead of leaving the faucet running," student Jordan Brothers said. "So I think I used like four or five earths a day and then when I went through and said, oh, I could make this change and this change to lower my carbon footprint and I got, like, two earths."

"It was really about trying to make kids aware of the energy that they use and then specifically how they can have an effect," science teacher Erica Wallstrom said.

After taking a look at energy use, which included a trip to Rutland's Energy Innovation Center, students got to tell their parents what to do by writing them a recommendation in English class on what changes could be made at home.

"Definitely inspiring. I think you see the light bulb go off, pun intended, when they realize that what they're doing in class is actually gonna be applicable to their lives," said Erin Piotrowski, an English teacher.

For students, the project has been eye-opening.

"I knew that it was out there but I really never thought about it, what I could do to change it," student John Cragin said.

Educators at Rutland High School want students to know that the changes they make now can affect their wallets, their families and the Earth.

This is the first year the program has been open to kids in grades 9-12 and they plan to do it again next year.

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