(Washington, DC) - The Inaugural DC Green Schools Challenge kicked off on Monday, February 10, 2014 with the start of the Sprint to Savings, a three week electricity conservation contest that pairs expert building professionals with participating public schools in the District of Columbia. The mentors teach students about energy conservation and climate change, supporting student-led teams in identifying energy conservation measures and effective strategies to reduce consumption on-site - from turning off computers and heating at night to using daylight instead of artificial lighting during the day. In its inaugural year, over fifty (50) mentors and twenty-eight (28) schools are participating in the program.
Department of General Services (DGS) Director Brian J. Hanlon said, “This Challenge is the perfect example of the innovations the District has taken to support the Mayor’s vision of creating a more Sustainable DC. By including our students in the process, we invest them in the future of greener, more energy efficient communities.”
The Challenge is a partnership between the DC Government and the US Green Building Council National Capital Region chapter. Emily English, Executive Director of USGBC National Capital Region Chapter, added, “An unprecedented number of our members enthusiastically came forward to answer the call for volunteers and are finding that engaging students and having the ideas they come up with together quickly validated by data very rewarding.”
The DC Green Schools Challenge features two separate initiatives aimed at creating educational and leadership opportunities for students and reducing environmental impact: the Sprint to Savings and the Innovation Challenge. The Sprint to Savings competition challenges students to reduce their school’s consumption by at least 5 percent over a three week period, incentivizing participation by leveraging near real-time feedback through an online leaderboard and with prizes and financial rewards. The Innovation Challenge empowers students to decide what energy efficiency projects would benefit their school most, developing the projects and submitting them for funding. Finalists will have the chance to present their proposals at the US Green Building Council's Green Schools Summit in late April 2014, and winning project(s) will be executed and funded by the Department of General Services.
The Challenge leverages the District of Columbia’s booming green building industry and builds upon innovations from DGS’ Energy & Sustainability team, including acquiring electricity consumption in 15-minute intervals and using this actionable data to identify and eliminate energy waste. Further, through unprecedented efforts to make this data transparent on BuildSmartDC.com and on DCGreenSchoolsChallenge.com, the real-time feedback encourages students and building occupants to measure their conservation efforts.
The Department of General Services’ Energy & Sustainability Division is creating one of the most efficient and sustainable portfolios of real estate in the United States, ultimately saving DC taxpayers $100M over the next decade. During 2014, the Division’s focus is to reduce costs while de-risking and de-carbonizing energy supply, increase recycling rates in DCPS, and promote forward-looking urbanism that improves health outcomes for city residents.
The Department of General Services (DGS)
The mission of the Department of General Services (DGS) is to elevate the quality of life for the District with superior construction, first-rate maintenance and expert real estate management. By building and maintaining safe and green state-of-the-art facilities which foster economic growth and elevate educational environments, our trusted and skillful employees create modern and vibrant communities across all of the District of Columbia.
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