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GreenLearning and Peel District School Board Tackle Carbon Emissions by Turning Youth into Energy Managers

(Picture: GreenLearning’s Executive Director, Mary McGrath is joined by Mississauga-Malton MPP Deepak Anand, along with 3 Peel Trustees; Stan Cameron, Balbir Sohi and Robert Crocker)

Mississauga, ON – GreenLearning and Peel District School Board (PDSB) are empowering schools to reduce their energy use and carbon emissions by making energy ‘visible’ to students. The program, called Energy Revealed, is currently in a planning phase thanks to a $53,900 Seed grant that was awarded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) in 2018. Local MPP Deepak Anand met with members of GreenLearning on Friday morning to learn more about positive impacts of the program.

“Teaching our students to save energy today, will help them protect the world tomorrow,” said Deepak Anand, MPP for Mississauga-Malton.

As part of the pre-pilot phase of Energy Revealed, GreenLearning held two focus groups and a wrap-up event to discuss findings and make recommendations for next steps. Throughout, there was a lot interest and engagement from Peel teachers to participate and engage their students in the program.

“At the Peel District School Board, we pride ourselves on the creation of innovative learning opportunities that empower our students and will make a lasting impact on our community long after a student has graduated,” said Peter Joshua, Director of Education at the Peel District School Board. “We are thrilled to have been able to partner with an organization like GreenLearning to launch Energy Revealed, a program that we believe will heighten awareness of environmental issues among our students and give them the tools to effect real change.”

Energy Revealed is an experiential learning program and it leverages energy technology that “makes energy visible,” which means it provides access to real time data showing a school’s use of electricity. Students are then challenged to use the data to invent solutions for energy and cost savings.

The program is an engaging and powerful learning opportunity for students that better prepares them for skills and careers in the 21st century clean tech and innovation economy. It is expected that the result of this educational experience will lead to reduction in greenhouse gases in the short term, creating a new generation of responsible and innovative energy users over the long term.

“The funding we received from OTF has allowed us to work with PDSB and a variety of amazing, highly regarded partners. We have been able to incorporate a community energy planning lens to our approach ensuring that all stakeholders are identified, and their perspectives are accounted for. We hope to reveal the results of the planning phase for the Energy Revealed program and also provide a thorough examination of how to ensure success for years to come,” said Kristina Johnston, Energy Education Program Manager at GreenLearning.

The wrap up event was the final in a series of meetings aimed at exploring ways to bring energy efficiency education and climate action to youth in the form of a fun, experiential learning program. Other attendees included partners of the program such as the Manager of Energy and Sustainability, Energy Specialist and Sustainability Specialist from the PDSB, Waterloo Global Science Initiative (WGSI) and Karen Farbridge, former Mayor of Guelph and expert on Community Energy Planning.

“In a response to a commitment to be more energy efficient, we recently installed energy metering technology in all of the facilities owned by the board, 270 buildings in total,” said Benjamin Ratcliffe, Energy Specialist at Peel District School Board. “These installations have already lead to energy savings and have created a wonderful opportunity for GreenLearning to partner with the PDSB this year in a pre-pilot program. By revealing the schools’ energy usage to students, we can engage them to take actions on improving efficiency – which mitigates climate change and saves money.”

Previous focus group meetings brought together secondary school teachers from Mayfield in Caledon, Stephen Lewis in Mississauga and Sandalwood Heights in Brampton for a discussion on how Energy Revealed encourages entrepreneurship, innovation, and leadership. Stakeholders deliberated on how to leverage the energy metering technology to encourage behaviour changes in the school necessary to benefit the environment, save energy costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Talks also considered the learning and support materials necessary to trigger those behaviour changes while meeting existing curriculum.

About GreenLearning
GreenLearning creates free online programs about energy, climate change and green economy that engage and empower students to create positive change in their own lives, schools and communities. For more information on GreenLearning, please visit: www.greenlearning.ca

About Ontario Trillium Foundation

The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) is an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s leading granting foundations. OTF awarded more than $120 million to some 700 projects last year to build healthy and vibrant communities in Ontario. For more information about OTF, please visit: www.otf.ca

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GreenLearning and Peel District School Board (PDSB), are empowering schools to reduce their energy use and carbon emissions by making energy ‘visible’ to students. The program known as Energy Revealed, is currently in a planning phase thanks to a $53,900 Seed grant that was awarded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) in 2018. “At the…