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Training for Ecosupporters - action plan on energy efficiency in schools

On 28th of October in Pushkin near St. Petersburg seminar-training on energy and resource saving in educational institutions was held. Training was organized by "Friends of the Baltic" NGO in the framework of the Russian-Finnish project "Step to Ecosupport" with the assistance of SPARE project. School ecosupporters from St. Petersburg exchanged experience with experts in the field of practical education on energy saving from all corners of Russia and prepared a model energy efficiency action plan for schools.

Seminar was organized by "Friends of the Baltic" NGO in the framework of all-Russian Conference of the Russian Socio-ecological Union on energy and climate. Beginners and experienced Ecosupporters that already promote environmental decisions in schools learned about the national greenhouse gas accounting programme and how it is connected with the state goals for energy efficiency and energy saving. Olga Senova, Chairpersone of "Friends of the Baltic" and SPARE coordinator in Russia, said that the state program on energy efficiency can be enhanced in the regions through support for local business and schools initiatives.

Participants got acquainted with the experience of energy efficient renovation of old buildings - this issue is relevant not only for houses, but also for schools which situated in old and poorly insulated buildings.

"Step to ecosupport" project participants proved that reduction of our impact on the environment is possible, while maintaining and even increasing the level of live comfort to which we are accustomed. To maintain the balance between man and nature, it is not necessary to go into the cave, to grow a beard and live by candlelight.

Dag Arne Hoystad (Norwegian society for nature conservation) spoke about "right school" concept, which tells that improving of inner school climate followed by improving environment. Practical steps aimed at improving school buildings: ventilation, proper lighting, technical equipment, floor and wall coverings, if eco-friendly, can reduce school impact on nature. Recent studies have shown that the improvement of these factors leads to improved perception of information and also improve students’ academic achievement.

SPARE project helps "Step to Ecosupport” project and its Ecosupporters, acts as parallel part of education. Ecosupporters who participate also in SPARE, know what to do at school for energy and resource efficiency, and most importantly know why do it.

Ecosupporters learned about SPARE project experience in the regions of Russia. Galina Chan, coordinator of SPARE project in Vladivostok, spoke how SPARE project helps to promote practical energy-saving solutions. Authors of the project for the introduction of RES in one of Vladivostoks’ school, presented results to school administration. Soon school will receive the experimental solar panel, because the economic benefits of the implementation were calculated and proved to be profitable.

Daria Mytareva, expert of "Friends of the Baltic" NGO, presented an overview of “Step to ecosupport” project results. Many schools replaced old light bulbs with energy saving, hanged posters calling to save energy and water. Many schools switched to natural light use during day time. Almost all schools participating in the project, organized paper collection for recycling few times a year. Taps were repaired to save water, schools start to use aerators.

"Energy efficiency is the largest power plant in Russia" campaign experience was presented by Lyudmila Zhirina. In many regions the driving force of this campaign became public organizations along with schools. Lyudmila Zhirina, SPARE coordinator in the Central Federal district, told about how EE campaign helps to support small-scale practical solutions in schools and homes. “Energy teams” consisting of parents insulated windows, doors, floors in the school. Energy crews use energy efficient methods for cooling during summer heat. By engaging children and their parents further dissemination of results starts to grow (neighbours, local residents and officials).

The seminar concluded with a training in which school ecosupporters together with SPARE experts has developed a strategy for energy efficiency measures action plan in schools and its implementation.

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