EPA Celebrates ‘Children Health Month,’ Encourages Recruiting Students for ‘Energy Patrols’ at School

Penny Starr | October 5, 2012 | 3:52pm EDT
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Children (Courtesy of EPA website)

(CNSNews.com) – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is celebrating Children’s Health Month this October by providing information and health tips on its website, including the importance of energy efficiency in schools.

On the website page is a link to a 26-page EPA report entitled, “Sensible Steps to Healthier School Environment.” In the report’s chapter on Energy Efficiency, the EPA presents a box with items to help establish “Energy Efficiency Opportunities for Schools.”

One of the items in the box reads, “Educate students and staff about how their behaviors affect energy use. Some schools have created student energy patrols to monitor and inform others when energy is wasted.”

For example, the Arizona Public School’s website provides information for setting up energy patrols. The website states “emphasize social action through environmental education gives students a chance to do something about environmental problems instead of just hearing about them.”

The APS website says that patrol members can be provided with ID tags, vests and clipboards. Their responsibilities include leaving reminders to better conserve energy in rooms they find that have the lights on but are unoccupied.

In Alabama schools, the energy patrols are described as groups of 10 to 20 students who are tasked with monitoring the school’s energy use.

“When lights are found on unnecessarily, they are quickly turned off,” the website states. “Periodically, thermostats are also checked to see that they stay at an energy saving 70 in the winter and 78 in the summer. All windows and doors will be noticed for efficient solar energy usage and all water leaks will be reported. Door hangers are left as reminders to do better and to provide encouragement or praise.”

The EPA report connects energy efficiency and children’s health by way of “greenhouse gas emissions.”

“By being more energy efficient, schools can save money and prevent greenhouse gas emissions,” the report states. “School districts can use the savings from improved energy performance to help pay for building improvements and other upgrades that enhance the learning environment.”

The report states that the more than 17,000 public schools in the United States “spend more than $8 billion annually on energy — more than is spent on computers and textbooks combined.”

Other issues addressed in the EPA report include asthma and asthma triggers, buses and vehicle idling, toxins such as lead and mercury and pesticides and pest management.

The report’s subtitle states the contents provide “cost-effective, affordable measures to protect the health of students and staff.”

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