May 6th, 2014
It was 8.30 am on Earth Day and there were a bunch of students, teachers and visitors standing outside at the Jefferson Middle School all looking up at the sky. Everyone was watching their new wind turbine turning in the wind and generating clean renewable electricity. The wind school project, funded in large part by a grant from Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation was finally up and running and working perfectly. The school also received grants from the Jefferson Middle School Green Team, Illinois Sustainable Technology Center and the Jefferson Middle School PTSA as well as Jefferson Middle School family donations.
Facts about the turbine:
- The turbine has a rated capacity of 3.5 kW
- The turbine starts turning when the wind reaches 6.7 miles per hour (mph)
- The turbine weighs 363 pounds
- The rotor diameter is 13.4 feet
- The estimated annual yield is between 5,500 and 11,300 kWh
As with any project like this at a school there are a number of champions who guided the project through its various stages. For me, that champion is Geoffrey Freymuth, Jefferson Middle School Science Teacher. He led a team of Jefferson Middle School administrators, teachers and students, but he was the team leader. The Champaign School District is one of the greenest in the country and they were definitely on his team but the person who was watching over and guiding and worrying about this project was Mr Freymuth.
The most interesting thing about the project for me was the qr bar code on the sign that enables anyone with a smart phone to walk up to the sign under the wind turbine and read the wind data. That was such a cool idea. I asked Mr. Freymuth why he added the qr bar code to the sign. “I kept trying to come up with something that would make our project different from the others. Then one night I remembered the qr code. There was a free app for it and we put it on the sign the next day. It was actually pretty easy.”
Let me say that the qr code may have been easy but this project took a lot of hard work from a lot of people and I want to congratulate them on their successful project.
April 19th, 2014
Here’s an update of what’s going on at Townline Elementary/School of Dual Language with the solar panels at that school:
4th grade: They are going to begin their unit on physical science about energy, which includes: solar energy and its conversion to other forms of energy such as electricity, which correlates to the Common Core Science Standards 4-ESS3.
1st grade: Is planning on using items found within the NEED Project Kit such as the Nature Print Paper and is contemplating showing them an example of the model solar house when they begin their unit on sun, moon, and Earth
This update was provided by two teachers at the school:
Marissa and Ame
Here are some pix of the 8th grade energy fair held at Hawthorn District #73
April 3rd, 2014
In our last blog we talked about how all of the Hawthorn Schools have solar electricity panels on them. Everyone in Vernon Hills, Illinois is so excited about these solar school projects that two of the schools provided us with updates.
Hawthorn Middle School South
According to Michael Brennan, 7th grade science teacher, â€œSince Middle School South’s Installation (January Â 18th) to March 19th, we have produced 132 kWh hours of solar energy. We have had a carbon offset of 201 lbs which is the equivalent of two trees. The science classes have begun teaching lessons on solar energy using mini Photovoltaic Cells to raise awareness on our solar panels.â€
Hawthorn Aspen Elementary School
From Lisa Cerauli, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, â€œCurrently, we have the 5th grade students inform the school on our morning broadcast. Â They give the monthly info to the rest of the school during their newscast.â€
Every school using solar every day.
March 3rd, 2014
There are a lot of solar schools throughout Illinois. Some districts have more than one solar school. In Vernon Hills, the Hawthorn School District (No. 73) has solar school installations at all of its schools.
- Hawthorn Middle School
- Hawthorn Aspen Elementary
- Hawthorn Middle School South
- Hawthorn Middle School North
- Hawthorn Elementary School North
- Hawthorn Elementary School South
- Townline Elementary/School of Dual Language
Regardless of how you look at this, it is a school district dedicated to teaching its students about solar electricity.Â The schools are on the web site www.IllinoisSolarSchools.org including the solar data.Â Lisa Cerauli is our primary contact.Â Ceraulil@hawthorn73.org is her e-mail in case you want to ask her how she does it.
â€“ Glen Kizer
February 2nd, 2014
You are all part of the Solar Schools Initiative. Some of you are students, some are teachers, some are school administrators, some of you provide grant funds, some of you provide technical assistance to schools, some of you install solar on schools and there are a variety of other people and groups that help make this initiative work. To all of you, a web site listed the solar schools initiative as one of the top 10 Campaigns Helping Save Our Planet Most. Here is the list.
Congratulations to all of us.
- Glen Kizer
November 22nd, 2013
One of the basic requirements for a solar school 1 kW grant project from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Project is visibility. The solar electricity panels are required to be installed so they are visible to students. The pictures below provide you with three (3) examples at schools around Illinois.
As you can see from the pix above, panels can be high up near the top of a tall school building (Prieto Academy in Chicago) or high on the wall of the building above the front entrance (Union Ridge) or near the ground at a level many schools call â€œmower heightâ€ that is near the front entrance of the school (Elmwood Jr/Sr HS). All of these installations create high visibility for the solar panels and make the solar school project at each school more successful.