Schools energy advisors will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Submitted by Елена Гретчина on Sun, 10/14/2018 - 01:00

On October 1-2, a training workshop was held in St. Petersburg for energy advisers - volunteer enthusiasts who will promote energy-efficient solutions in their educational institutions, help save energy, create school climate plans and implement solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The training workshop was held in the framework of the inter-regional conference “Eco-Schools / Green Flag” and the seminar “Development and implementation of measures aimed at reducing the technogenic impact on climate and adaptation to the negative effects of climate change.” It was organized by the Friends of the Baltic NGO and the Russian Socio-Ecological Union with the support of the Committee for Environmental Management, Environmental Protection and Ensuring the Environmental Safety of the Government of St. Petersburg, the State Company Mineral, the Norwegian Society for Nature Conservation, the St. Petersburg for Baltic Environment NGO, St. Petersburg Energy Saving Center, St. Petersburg Academy of Postgraduate Teaching Education and the Federation of Ecological education of St. Petersburg.

The emergence of the concept of "Energy Advisor" was a logical continuation of the activities of environmental advisers and the work of the Environmental Councils in schools - participants of the SPARE program (School project for application of resources and energy) and the international program "Eco-Schools / Green Flag". The mission of energy advisers is becoming even more relevant due to the international agreement on climate and national objectives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions - largely due to the efficient and economical use of energy in buildings, organizations, and in everyday life.

At the seminar, the representative of the St. Petersburg Center for Energy Conservation Ksenia Karpova told about the project “Energy Advisor of St. Petersburg” on the creation and support of energy advisers in urban organizations. It is the energy manager responsible for the rational use of energy in the organization, for energy service contracts. But somewhere, for example, in a city house or at school, a competent enthusiast can become an energy adviser - and thus improve energy management, help improve comfort and save money on energy costs.
Olga Senova, head of the Friends of the Baltic NGO, presented the experience of environmental advisers in St. Petersburg, the success of introducing energy-efficient solutions in schools, materials to help the energy advisor (this is the eco-adviser, but realizing the specific goals of improving the energy efficiency of school). An energy-efficient building exhibition ( - in russian) and a brochure with comments, as well as the distance course "Energy-efficient building".

Ekaterina Uspenskaya, an expert at the Climate Secretariat of the RSEU, spoke about the global problem of climate change, its effects on the territory of Russia and world trends in climate actions in the field of adaptation and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. RSEU distributes climate awareness materials for citizens and for decision makers. Together with the SPARE project, experts from the RSEU Climate Secretariat help to develop a School Climate Plan as a model of climate actions, primarily priority measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency.

Elena Gretchina, co-coordinator of the SPARE program in Russia, introduced the best schoolchildren projects of last years in the All-Russian SPARE-competition “Energy and Environment”.

The training included an exhibition on building energy efficiency and information stations on climate change, energy saving and waste-resources, as well as a communication training session. Even if the energy adviser knows well what exactly needs to be done at school, then the most difficult thing is to convince the staff, the administration, the students, to motivate them to act.

In the communication training, teachers learned how to convince school administration in need of energy saving (the exercise “Convince in the elevator a 30 seconds”), choose the most effective communication channels (for example, personal conversations, demonstration materials, web resources and social networks, and much more), analyzed what helps and what interferes with the work of the energy adviser, how to overcome barriers and achieve results (the “Support Machine” exercise).

The result of the training was the interactive exercise “Three steps”, where each participant chose for himself the top three first actions at the school as an energy adviser. Most of the teachers, as the first steps, chose to inform the entire team about the need and possibilities for energy saving, talk with the administration, conduct their primary energy audit, create the Eco Council (or adding energy experts in it).

The final stage of the training is group work to create a model Climate School Plan. Participants chose their real schools as objects for developing climate action plans. Some have tried to consider the maximum number of different effects of school on climate and climate on schools, others have decided to concentrate their efforts on 1-2 major impacts. During the training, participants realized, it is very important to keep in mind both parts of climate actions during developing the climate plans - preventive (to reduce emissions) and adaptation, in order to be able to maintain a healthy and safe environment at the local level and at schools.

Participants shared experiences, challenges, and climate action plans that they have created during the training. The conditions of all schools are very different, therefore the points of application of forces are also different. For example, a rural school in the Yaroslavl region is heated by coal, but it is cold in the room and there is a plan for switching to wood fuel. There are 50 hectares of overgrown fields that need to be cleaned of sprouts - recycling sprouts for firewood is a completely eco-friendly solution. The plans include the installation of energy efficient furnaces with sandwich pipes, insulation of windows and doors, and major repairs of the walls. St. Petersburg school number 395 creates conditions for children to come to school on bicycles and scooters, organize Day without transport. Many schools organize or plan a separate waste collection. Replacing the lighting with the most energy efficient gives the most easily measurable results. For example, replacing fluorescent lamps with LEDs gave one of the schools of St. Petersburg a saving of 1000 kWh per month.
Climate plans of real schools, kindergartens and institutions of additional education can be submitted to the All-Russian SPARE-competition "Energy and Environment" for the 2018-2019 school year.