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New Program Aims To Help Reno/Sparks Schools Save Energy, Money

U.S. Department of Energy

A new program is turning some middle and high school students in Reno and Sparks into energy detectives.

They're on a mission to find areas of wasted energy and save their schools some money. David Crowther is the executive director of the Raggio Research Center for STEM Education at UNR, and is in charge of Project ReCharge. Students and teachers will conduct energy audits and provide cost saving recommendations to Washoe County School District facility managers and administrators. Crowther says the test-trial, which won the project's $1.2 million grant, involved locating an air conditioner that ran constantly, and was costing the school a small fortune in wasted energy.

"Then when we extrapolated the amount of energy that it was consuming after it had been turned off, we could then calculate that it would save that school about 15-thousand dollars a year," Crowther says.

The project is now at O'Brien Middle School and Reed High School, but is expected to spread to a total of ten schools in the next couple of years.


Esther Ciammachilli is a former part-time broadcaster at KUNR Public Radio.