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Energy Conservation


European Energy-Saving and Environmental Campaign for Schools

Changing people's everyday habits and routines to teach them to be more environmentally conscientious may be one of the most challenging tasks facing modern society. If people saved more energy in their everyday actions, much could be won in CO2 emissions and in environmental change overall.

Towards these ends, the Norwegian NGO Friends of the Earth - Norway designed the School Project for Application of Resources and Energy (SPARE). Good experiences with the project in Norway led to the development of a concept that could be applied in other countries. The project has been applied in west as well as in central and east European countries. 1,433 classes spread over several central- and eastern European countries have caried through the SPARE project with good results. The idea of an outreach through schools is to educate many people (both in schools and at students homes) and to establish good energy habits as early in life as possible. Such a project also attracts attention from local authorities and the media, which helps to spread the information as well.

The SPARE-project is primarily an education and training project in which the students can achieve new knowledge, raised awareness, and commitment through concrete tasks like calculating the schools' energy use and energy-saving potential (e.g., for heating, hot water, and lighting).

It is a part of the programme's pedagogical concept to encourage the students to contribute with their own ideas of energy-saving practices and ways of spreading these ideas. In one school, classes hung up charts illustrating daily use of energy in the building. In another, they introduced a yearly "Day Without Light", for which the school children were assigned to switch off lights in classrooms and corridors.

Several schools have pointed out that poor technical standards mean low energy efficiency (like: bad insulation, inefficient oil/gas-powered boilers, and old windows). Nevertheless, changing attitudes and habits can save considerable amounts of energy without big expensive investments.

A considerable reduction in energy consumption by the participating schools has been noted. A reduction of 5-10 % in energy consumption has been normal following completion of the project, but reductions of up to 25% have been seen.

Friends of the Earth - Norway is the initiator and the organiser of SPARE, but the project is locally run. In each country, there is co-operation with a local organisation and a contract with a national co-ordinator, who is responsible for recruiting participants, sending out material, and following up where needed.

Tore Braend, Friends of the Earth - Norway
Boks 6891, St Olavs plass, 0130 Oslo, Norway
ph: +47 2299 3300 Fax: +47 2299 3310