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Big guy + small car = green ride

Surrey School District Supt. Mike McKay sets the tone for the district’s second-annual Energy Conservation Cup by carpooling in the most fuel-efficient vehicle he could find – a Smart car belonging to Sullivan Heights Secondary teacher Sarah Garr. - Photo submitted
Surrey School District Supt. Mike McKay sets the tone for the district’s second-annual Energy Conservation Cup by carpooling in the most fuel-efficient vehicle he could find – a Smart car belonging to Sullivan Heights Secondary teacher Sarah Garr.
— image credit: Photo submitted

The second-annual Surrey Schools Energy Conservation Cup kicked off last Monday (Feb. 18) with 19 secondary schools and the District Education Centre competing to save the most energy between now and March 1.

Competitors have been divided into four divisions. The top two winners in each division will move on to the energy competition finals April 15 to 19, with the victor getting bragging rights and the Energy Conservation Cup.

“Dig out your ugly sweaters and pack a cold lunch because these are the weeks when our schools and DEC will be trying to reduce the amount of energy they use,” says Alasdair MacKinnon, the district’s director of energy management and sustainability.

Using consumption data compiled by energy intelligence provider Pulse Energy, each participant has committed to reducing their use of electricity and natural gas by a certain percentage. Last year, schools had their cafeterias serve cold lunches to avoid firing up the ovens, held “Ugly Sweater Days” while turning down room thermostats, put on acoustic concerts over lunch and turned off as many lights as possible without jeopardizing student safety or inhibiting student learning.

“The idea is to be creative,” says MacKinnon. “It’s one thing to change hardware and upgrade to energy efficient systems, but changing human behaviour is the greater challenge and it’s activities like these that will do it.”

The L.A. Matheson Mustangs won last year's inaugural Energy Conservation Cup, saving more than 2,000 kilowatt hours (kWh), translating to an energy savings of 18.2 per cent.

 

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