The SLUH Energy Team officially got its start during the summer of 2019 when Mr. John Hohenberger and Mr. Ross Watson were designated by the SLUH Sustainability Council to be the Energy Team Coaches, but before that, different groups have worked on various energy saving projects around the school. In 2016 a group of students aided by Mr. Watson worked to get insulation installed on the pipes in the Becker Memorial basement and during the 2018-2019 school year members of the current Energy Team applied for a grant to MAMAC for a submeter and worked to get it installed. 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. This year during the 2019-2020 school year the Energy Team has been trying to expand our student participation and develop tools to use for future projects.
The SLUH Energy Team strives to reduce the energy usage of the SLUH campus by inspiring a culture of energy awareness and organizing mechanical and behavioral changes.
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.
We do this by leading initiatives to get the entire student body involved with projects regarding the conservation of energy and reaching out to individual students to help them find ways that they can use their talents to help the school save energy. We also directly work to decrease the energy usage of our campus by suggesting sustainable courses of action to the administration and researching the areas of energy consumption which we can reduce the most.
By the end of the 2019-2020 school year the SLUH Energy Team aims to . . .
- Increase our awareness of how much energy out campus uses by . . .
- Getting up to date with our Energy Star data entry
- Building an energy model of the Dannis Field House
- Increase awareness of Energy Conservation efforts by . . .
- Publishing a report of out activities in the Prep news
- Updating our Website to contain useful information and educational tools
- Spur mechanincal change on our campus by . . .
- Presenting a report to the Administration about the energy usage of our flood lights on the sports feilds
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.
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.
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.