Youth Energy Project
The Rockway Youth Energy Project harnessed student energy and commitment to foster the transformation that Ontario needs to make to meet the challenges of climate change and a reliable energy supply.
Students learned about energy in a way that allows them to really make a difference by putting what they learn into practice in their own homes and community. They raised money to facilitate the project and we provided the tools and education.
The Project contained 4 components:
1. The installation of a demonstration 1-kilowatt photovoltaic system which includes a central monitoring and explanatory station in the main public area of the school so all the students, parents, and guests can track the energy provided by the panel.
2. A presentation to the entire student body to explain the project, and alternative energy sources. The EEC strongly believes that the first step towards new energy supplies should be conservation. This is an important message, and each student received a conservation kit to use in their own homes.
3. Students in the Energy and Technology and the World Issues modules received a more intense session on home electrical use. They each took home a kit that allowed them to do a walk-through home audit to identify energy savings opportunities, and to evaluate the potential of their home to benefit from solar energy. In their classes they developed energy plans for their own homes.
4. The program is ongoing. Students who complete the home energy kit will receive the contact information to assist their families in going further. This includes professional home energy audits, as well as solar contractors. The students will have more than just information, they will have the tools to help their families reduce their energy use. The entire school will continue to raise money to be used to leave an “energy legacy” for the school.
This program will significantly benefit the Rockway Mennonite Collegiate students and families, but the real reward is the long-term benefits. By making this a legacy program with students adding to the solar system each year the school itself will begin to significantly change its energy mix. The students will gain a sense of accomplishment that will result in more local conservation activity as each class graduates. The savings that will be realized at the school and in the student’s homes are important, but more important is that as these students join the workforce, become homeowners and voters they will know that they can contribute to changing the way their community uses its energy. This project will also serve as a model that may be used in other schools throughout Ontario.