2018 Energy Reduction and Green School's Quest
The Energy Team and its Goals for 2019
In his encyclical 'Laudato Si’ – Our Common Home, Pope Francis says: “Let us be protectors of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment.” This document guides and informs all of our efforts, particularly our use of energy.
Over the past five years, SLUH has reduced energy consumption by 7%. Currently we have an Energy Star rating of 31 with a goal of attaining certification, but we have much work to do.
In addition to earning Energy Star certification, the Energy Team hopes to create an Energy model of the school, analyze data from the new sub meters, work on mechanical and cultural ways to reduce energy.How Much Energy Does SLUH Waste?
Through the Energy Star website, a website run by the government that tracks our energy usage, the Energy Team has collected energy data for all of SLUH energy meters since 2014. On campus, there are three main meters feeding energy into SLUH's buildings: the one of the side of the theater (which only sends energy to the theater), the meter attached to side of the Danis Field House (which only sends energy to the gym), and the one of near the entrance to the locker room (which sends data to the main building, including the Commons, the J-Wing, and the all of the M classrooms).
What is the Daily Energy Schedule of the Main Building?
As part of the 2019 green schools quest, SLUH will be installing a sub meter (see right "What's a Sub Meter?") to better monitor our energy consumption. Applying for a sub-meter from MAMAC System Inc. in the Fall of 2018, the Energy Teams grant proposal was accepted, and the sub meter has been placed on the meter supplying energy to the main school building. The graph below shows live data of the main school buildings hourly usage.
How much solar energy does SLUH produce?
While solar energy produces very little in Saint Louis, the two 25-Kilo-watt arrays that SLUH has situated on the Si Commons and Joseph Schulte have allowed SLUH realize the importance of renewable energy sources and their cost savings. They have also provided an opportunity to educate students about the importance of sustainability and being mindful of our impact on the environment. SLUH can access real-time data on the amount of energy being produced by the solar panels, which are directly connected to the grid.
Teaching Resources and Sources
What is a Kilo-Watt (KW)?
Before you understand a kilowatt, you must be able to define a wattage. Wattage is the the amount of work performed or energy used during a period of time (usually which is hours). Thus, a Kilo-watt is simply 1,000 watts. For example, if someone uses a 1,000 watt oven for an hour, he/she is using 1,000 kilowatts or 1 kilowatt every minute. On average, a house in the United States uses 30 kilowatts hours a day.
How Effective are Fossil Fuels at producing KwH?
The ratio of electricity produced per fossil fuel due to the heat content of the fuel, as well as, the effectiveness of the generator and power plant. Still, about 1 kilogram of coal produces 8 KwHs, which is slightly less then the 12 KwHs produced by 1 KwH of crude oil. Compared to energy produced by our solar panels, coal produces more KwHs.
What is a Meter? What is a Sub-Meter?
As part of the 2019 green schools quest SLUH will be installing a sub-meter to better monitor our energy consumption. While a regular meter only tells us the total amount of energy used by the building each month a sub-meter allows us to monitor real time energy usage and with additional meters will let us isolate power used by different appliances. The sub-meter will allow us to find times when our energy usage can be reduced, purchased, or used more efficiently. We hope to measure and benchmark cultural behaviors and mechanical improvements.
How does Solar Power Work?
Solar panels are installed on the roof of a building and absorb the suns energy. Similar to photosynthesis, the solar panels use the suns positive energy to energize electrons to produce a direct current of energy. This direct current of energy is then passed through a converter, which changes it into an alternating converter, which is then used to power appiances.
What are the Pros and Cons of Solar Energy?
Solar energy is clean energy and will never run out (at least until the sun dies out). It requires little maintenance, and it is even possible to make money from them by selling off excess energy. Still, the solar panels are very expensive to set up and especially in Saint Louis the return rate is very low. On average, our solar panels create about 3,000 KwH a month.