Knowledge is power, and with energy efficiency being such a hot topic these days, it's no surprise that educational outreach programs are being created by lighting manufacturers and nonprofit organizations—such as recent offerings from Ohio-based lighting manufacturer TCP and Colorado-based nonprofit educational organization Solar Energy International (SEI).
Targeting K–12 schools, the “Green Schools Initiative” works with mayors and local municipalities to give schools a “green” makeover. In July, TCP announced that it is partnering with CBS Corp. and environmental media company EcoMedia as the official lighting sponsor of this program, which launches this fall in Chicago, Miami, and San Francisco. One K–12 school in each city will be chosen as the recipient of a green makeover, which may include elements such as solar panels, green roofs, tree planting, or an energy-efficient lighting retrofit. As the official lighting sponsor, TCP will provide the necessary energy-efficient lighting products to retrofit each of the selected schools. Designed to help students take a more active role in protecting the environment, the initiative asks students this fall to turn in submissions that express what “being green” means to them and why their school should win the makeover. Top entries will be featured on CBS television, radio, and outdoor media outlets, and the winning schools in the three cities will be announced in winter 2008, with the makeovers scheduled to be completed by spring 2009.
SEI's Renewable Energy Education Programs provide workshops and online classes on topics such as solar electricity, solar thermal, wind power, renewable fuels, sustainable home design, and natural house building. SEI also offers its Charitable Programs, which support schools, developing nations, international training, Native Americans, and tuition scholarships. One such program is Solar in the Schools, which is geared toward grades K–12 and strives to have students understand energy as it relates to living things on Earth. This solar program explores energy choices, costs, and solutions within communities. SEI is a membership-based organization, with donor contributions aiding in maintaining educational opportunities. Workshops are open to everyone, with SEI members receiving a reduced rate. More information can be found at solarenergy.org.