Welcome to the Kansas Energy Program’s K-12 Energy Benchmarking Program, a no-cost, real-life, interactive STEM project, adaptable for students at any grade level. We at the Kansas Energy Program (or KEP) work with teachers to create customized, age-appropriate and fun activities that let students use science and math in cool, real-world applications. And your district could find simple ways to save some money in energy costs, too.
Let's Get Started!
Ever wondered what it costs to heat, cool, and light a school? Here’s a hint: It’s a lot. And, unfortunately, a lot of the energy your school pays for can be lost to drafty windows, inefficient lightbulbs and outdated mechanical systems.
But hey, you’re a teacher. You’ve got lessons to plan and standards to meet. Worrying about energy costs probably isn’t high on your list of priorities. We get it.
However, what if you could:
- Teach your students real-life STEM lessons about energy efficiency?
- Meet Next Generation Science Standards?
- Help your school save on energy bills? (Bonus!)
What if there was no cost to your school, and you had a team of energy-efficiency experts backing you up?
We at KEP are ready and eager to help you and your students with a memorable, hands-on, learning experience!
Who is the KEP and What is Their Mission?
We are energy efficiency experts housed within K-State Engineering Extension. Here at the Kansas Energy Program, we help school districts, small businesses and governmental entities save energy and reduce costs.
Our work is largely funded through the US Department of Energy, State Energy Program, through a partnership with the Kansas Corporation Commission.
How Does The K-12 Energy Star Benchmarking Program Work?
You’ve probably seen “ENERGY STAR” ratings on appliances to indicate their energy efficiency. At KEP, we’ve based our K-12 Benchmarking program on another initiative of the ENERGY STAR program, one focused on helping public schools save money.
Typically, a school or class will form an “energy team” made up of students, or even a mix of students, staff and administrators who will work through the program together. However, the program is fully adaptable for your classroom and students.
The energy team or class will work through a series of activities to:
- Benchmark and understand the school’s energy use
- Conduct an energy-efficiency “treasure hunt” using professional energy auditing equipment to look for ways to reduce energy loss and save money
- Encourage the school community to adopt energy-efficient habits
- Measure cost reductions and finance energy-efficiency upgrades
- Share results of the program
KEP will start by entering your school’s utility bills into an online database to track energy use and compare it to other schools. You will get an energy efficiency score to use as a benchmark for tracking future improvements. KEP will conduct on-site training and will provide you with professional energy auditing equipment. The team will guide you and your students in using it as you work through the activities.
And don’t worry: KEP will customize the program to fit your teaching goals and schedule, and can even adapt it for virtual learning if necessary.
Here are a few more materials you might find useful in learning more about the program.
- To learn more about the project, watch our informational webinar recorded on May 28th, 2020.
- Kansas K-12 Public Schools: Getting top scores in energy efficiency will explain the background of the program and activities.
- Discover more about how the K-12 Energy Benchmarking Program aligns with Next Generation Science Standards [need link for spreadsheet; Kurt is working on a more user-friendly version].
- Here’s an example of a form you, your students and the KEP team can work through together to collect baseline data about your school’s energy usage. The form and the information you gather can be customized for any grade level.
- Kansas’ version of the K-12 ENERGY STAR Benchmarking Program is based on the US Department of Energy’s program
This document has teaching and discussion questions, forms, worksheets and templates.
I'm Interested! What Now?
Call us at 785-532-6026 or email us to get the ball rolling. We’re excited to help you and your students learn more about energy efficiency as we support you in your mission to educate Kansas students!