Green Cup Challenge Concludes After Four Weeks, Andover Finishes in Eighth Place

After the fourth and final week of the Green Cup Challenge, Phillips Academy placed Eighth with a 3.54% reduction in energy use. The school’s average percent reduction for the entire competition was 3.70%. The winning school was Millbrook, with a total average reduction of 16.3%. Millbrook was followed closely by Holderness, with a 15.1% reduction, and Darrow, with a 14.0% average reduction. Though Andover did not meet its Seventh Place goal, Rebecca Bogdanovitch, Sustainability Coordinator, remains optimistic for next year and was pleased with the efforts during the last four weeks of competition. “[The Green Cup Challenge] got people talking about energy saving, and I’ve heard people comment on how easy and simple they realize it is to turn off their lights when leaving the room, and to shut off their computer at night, and why it is important to do so. The community discussion about the competition and about global warming and climate change has been great—a success in itself,” she said. Andover will, in all likelihood, compete next year, though the competition itself may undergo some changes. In the future, the Green Cup Competition may shift its focus from inter-school competition to inter-school cooperation. A reasonable goal of overall energy saving would be established, and participating schools would work together to reach the goal. Ms. Bogdanovitch said, “While schools would still compete against one another, it will be less about beating other schools, and more about being the biggest energy saver to help reach the goal.” Next year, there may also be more competition between clusters at Andover. “I’d love to have some sort of inter-cluster competition, then your opponents are each other—your friends and classmates, which would be a lot of fun with a competitive spirit,” said Ms. Bogdanovitch. Schools participating in next year’s competition will discuss the Green Cup Challenge during an upcoming conference hosted by NMH. The purpose of the meeting will be to debrief with members of each of the competing schools—to discuss the successes and problems experienced during the competition, and to discuss ideas and thoughts for the future. When discussing the sustainability goals of the school, Ms. Bogdanovitch said, “I think the main goal of this year has been informative: educating the community about climate change and raising awareness about global warming.” She continued, “In the future I hope that we can take this deeper, and, working with Eco-Action and the environmental science class, see what students want to do, and try to determine how sustainability can touch all areas of school.” Recently, Phillips Academy has already taken considerable measures to become environmentally friendly and energy efficient. For many years the school has run on co-generation energy. Co-generation is a method that creates two forms of energy simultaneously in the same system. When a power plant burns natural gases and low sulfur diesel, it creates heat and steam, which are then used to heat the campus. While this process does involve burning fossil fuels, it also creates wind, which then turns turbines, generating even more energy. After having been shut down because of damages, Phillips Academy’s turbine has been repaired and is working once again. The architects for the Commons renovations are also environmentally conscious, and the plans incorporate this awareness. The building will be LEED Certified, meaning that it will follow guidelines determined by the United States Green Building Counsel. The certification guidelines require proper waste and energy management, proximity to mass transit and to the community. The building must also incorporate renewable energy sources. Though there are certain levels of LEED Certification, the architects only hope that Commons will fulfill the minimum standards. LEED certification also includes innovation credits, and encourages creativity. “The process includes creating educational opportunities for the community. Commons is, in many ways, the heart of the campus, and my role is in helping to create these educational resources through the building,” said Ms. Bogdanovitch. The plans for Step It Up Day, April 14, will be discussed at upcoming meeting open to all members of the town. Step It Up Day, a nationwide event in which people in communities across the U.S. will rally and urge congress to pledge an 80% reduction of carbon emissions by the year 2050. People who are interested in the organization of the day are encouraged to attend the meeting, which will be held in March. Though the Green Cup Challenge is over, students are encouraged to continue saving energy through everyday sustainable habit changes and are reminded to remain environmentally conscious and aware in their daily lives.