Punahou1.JPGWritten by: Erica Kobayashi
Assignment: Intro

The issue I'm going to tackle is conserving Electricity. The reason I wanted to take this issue is because when my family and I drive past Punahou at night, we often see buildings with lights on but no one is there using the facility. It bothers me and I believe it's a huge waste. I know that Punahou has made some efforts like having signs in bathrooms saying to turn off the light when it's not being used or the fact that we have a generator and some solar panels, I believe we can do even more things to help out even if it's only by a little bit like cut down on electricity. Punahou is a large school and can take up a lot of energy with all it's students and with some teachers and staff working there til late. The school could do more things to conserve energy or talk to the students/staff/teachers to not leave lights or the AC on all the time. I understand that the lights that are on late are for 'security reasons' but there are a lot of lights on. It would be good if they cut down on the amount of lights on when there's less people on campus.

Comments from Ms. Y (re: Step 1):

Erica- I like the way you've described how you have arrived at your topic choice. I am a little confused by your 4th sentence when you say "we have a generator...". Are you now referring to Punahou? to your own house? Were you referring to Punahou when you said you see buildings with lights on? It seems at first you are discussing Honolulu or Hawaii in general, then maybe Punahou, then home. It will help to clarify this. Is your goal to conserve more energy at home? Or is your goal to help Punahou conserve energy? Let me know if you'd like to brainstorm this a bit more. Also, did you find any graphics or videos to help illustrate your point?


LINK: http://iws.punahou.edu/punablogs/news/archives/2008/10/punahou_goes_so.html

Summary: This is a Punahou news post that talks about how they added more solar panels so that our school can try to be more sustainable

Reflection: I think this is interesting because I learned that not only does the system help with making energy, it help with carbon dioxide as well. They said that the new system was like taking off 100 cars off the road.

Further Questions:
1. I wonder how much the set up for the solar panels cost?
2. How long did it take for this idea of solar panels to be put into effect in school?

LINK: http://pacific.bizjournals.com/pacific/stories/2008/10/06/daily12.html

Summary: A short news post from the Pacific Business News on Punahou's newly installed solar system.

Reflection: Punahou now has one of the largest solar energy sources of any private school in the nation. It was also installed by Island Pacific Energy.

Further Questions:
1. Other schools with large solar energy sources?

LINK: http://iws.punahou.edu/department/LukeCenter/sustainability/2006/08/energy_conservation_at_punahou.html

Summary: This is a page on Punahou about the sustainability facts on Punahou such as information on how they use natural and fluorescent lighting for certain buildings to try save energy and that the AC is made specially to create ice during night and to melt and cause cooling during the day. Also has some info on the laptops and how much energy they can really use.

Reflection: I learned that laptops can spend a lot of energy even when asleep. They also heat up and let off CO2.

Title of Article: National Association of Independent Schools: [Re]-Build It and They Will Come.

Summary: A slideshow with the top 10 green schools in 2006 and what they do to be sustainable. Punahou is one of the top 10.

Reflection: I learned we have waterless urinals, committed to all future construction done to LEED standards and have goals for year 2016 having to do with Energy, Water, Waste, Food and Transportation.

Further Questions:
1. What were the large sustainable changes that were made after 2006?
2. Who is LEED?

LINK: http://www.usgbc.org/Displaypage.aspx?categoryID=19

Summary: USGBC: LEED page with info on LEED and what it does.

Reflection: LEED stands for 'The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and it's a third party certified program that verifies the building of buildings in schools to see if they're sustainable and profitable.

Further Questions:
1. How many schools have they gone over?
2. Does this LEED organization do a lot of work and is recognizable to many schools?

Images & Files

The person I chose to have an interview is the director of the physical plant Randy Overton. He works at Punahou and deals with ideas and issues in making Punahou more sustainable with their electricity, trash, ect. He works at Luke Center. The meeting is scheduled for F day during the long advisory.

1. About how much has Punahou been paying for electricity bills? (Like before they made more sustainability movements and after)
2 million dollars annually. The amount of money being payed on electricity bills have been pretty flat without any huge increases or decreases.

2. About when is the campus around empty?
Most buildings light up at 6 when the students are coming and then around 8-12 is the night lighting when pretty much everyone is gone..

3. What are your reasons to why lights are left on late when there's no one on campus?
We try to keep 3 types of lighting. The first lighting is around when the students have school time. The next dusk lighting is when the sun is starting to set and enough lights are on for people to get around safely. The night lighting is when it's dark. There's only enough lights on for someone to be able to navigate around campus like if they forgot something and need to go back to their locker. Main reason for the lighting at different times is safety reasons,

4. Any future plans on increasing Punahou's sustainability?
Often replace lighting, laptops and ACs with more sustainable versions. They also try to use renewable items. Also planning to put a wind farm on the athletic area. Also planning to use green waste by burning them for energy.

5. Do we have some sort of electricity generator? (In case of emergencies, powering certain areas an campus, ect)
They're only used during emergencies like power outages. They're only one in Dillingham hall and one in the athletic office incase of in the middle of a play or a game, they could kick back up the lights enough for people to get out. There's also 2 portabel generators only used for emergencies.

6. Is Punahou working with any groups that are helping with the Sustainability of the school or are those plans thought up by the school board?
Comes from all over like following other examples. It's a national and local effort. Ideas can come from students to teachers.

First try...: From this interview, I learned about Punahou's lighting scedual with the facilities turning on their lights at around 6 when the students are coming and the teachers and the dusk lighting where most classrooms are now unlit with more pathway or hallway lights to be able to navigate around when the suns starting to set and the night lighting when there's only enough lights to be able to navigate around campus. I also learned how Punahou gets its sustainability ideas.

From my research and the interview, I learned a few more things about my topic. There are many things that are being planned out, changed or added to the school right now that I didn’t know of. Punahou is always trying to look for more sustainable versions of applications that they have like finding more energy efficient laptops, lights and air conditioners. The school also has a lighting schedule like when they light things up at around 6 when everyone is coming, turning on a bit more pathway lights at around the afternoon when most people are leaving and at night they try to keep enough so that if someone had to get from one side of campus to the other, they could see where they were going without walking in the dark. They plans aren’t made directly with other big sustainability groups, but they are from other communities or could be suggestions from students or teachers here at Punahou. The schools trying to be sustainable ‘work together’ because they try to set examples for one another and they get ideas from each other.
As for an action plan, I can’t help by trying to solve the sustainability problems here directly, but I can help inform others on what the school is doing and maybe get them to think on their own saving habits at home and at school. I could present with a video that I find with steps or actions that we could take to save electricity or I could make a little imovie with the things I can do around my house to save electricity. I could try planning a little activity with a survey to see how and if they try to conserve electricity. The survey could have basic actions like ‘turning off lights in un used rooms’, ‘not using AC or fans when not needed’, ‘unplugging unused chargers’, ect. The class could also try to do those conservations actions at home for a week to get them thinking about trying to save more electricity. There would be a little contract with the activity that my classmates could sign saying that they would try to do the 1 week activity.

Comments from Ms. Y (re: Steps 2 & 4):

Erica- You have found great articles for your particular topic. Nice job finding the Punahou specific stories. I also liked how your knowledge progressed as you went along. At one point you asked about LEED and then later, through your research, you were able to answer your own questions.The one comment I have is that your summaries and reflections should go a little further (supposed to be a paragraph each). A reader should be able to read your summaries and discover the important information you learned, without having to read the article.

Action Plan
((Is this just a presentation? Like I could just show a video I threw together and a survey and that's it? Is there more stuff to do behind all of this? I'm pretty sure we're not just tossing out a movie and a survey and then it's over and I get graded and I can relax. x'D))

Anyway, I'm planning to make a little video recording myself doing things around the house that can help cut back on electricity. I don't know how to use imovie, but my (little, LOL!) brother made a movie for Camp Timberline so I can ask him since he seems to know what to do. Then I'll hand out a survey asking simple things like...
-Are there any lights you leave on at night? Why and how much?
-Do you have any other way to get some energy such as from solar panels? A backup generator?
-Are you doing anything now, does not matter if it's a big action since every little bit counts, to save electricity? If you are, what are you doing? If you're not, what could you do?

That's not all the questions, but I'll add more.

After, I could have a little 'challenge' for the week or a few days. The challenge would be for people to commit to do certain electricity sustaining actions. Nothing like 'I commit to installing solar panels' but maybe small things like 'I commit to turning off my laptop when I charge and charging it throughout the day so there is no need to keep it plugging in all through the night.'
I could give them a band, stick, or something to remind them of their commitment. I can't tell if they really did it, but I can give out a little bribe or snack after, maybe, if they go through with their word. (Meh, probably end up giving something to everyone, but it would still be a bit more interesting than just a survey)

EDIT OF ACTION PLAN: I made a powerpoint instead because I couldn't make an imovie.The powerpoint just says some tips on what you should and shouldn't do at home in saving electricity. The powerpoint just has simple tips so I might talk about more ways to save electricity after the powerpoint.

Final Comments:
Erica-Overall you've done a nice job. One can see how your learning and project progressed. It seems you gained some new insights on this topic, including what Punahou is doing to try to conserve energy. I liked your powerpoint; your bullet points and graphics are clear and to the point. Sorry you did not have enough time to show it to our class. I still think it may have made more of a difference to ask students to do something, even if one little thing like you point out. Watching a powerpoint is so passive, while asking them to try something new (like unplugging their laptops at night), perhaps with an incentive as you suggested, may lead to new action and behavior.