Idle-Free School Campaigns target idling “hot spots” at schools to help reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality. The program can be run in a classroom or with a Green Team or after-school club.  Students will learn organizational, analytical and communication skills as they perform data analysis, be empowered by showing drivers the significant benefits in shutting off engines when parked, and take pride in making a positive difference in their school community.

The compelling benefits of simply turning off the key when parked:

  • Save money. Avoid fuel waste and engine wear.
  • Improve air quality and health. Tailpipe chemicals can cause diseases over time like cancer and asthma.
  • Slow climate change. Exhaust emissions contain carbon dioxide (CO2) that contributes to climate change.
  • Conserve energy. Unnecessary idling contributes to fossil fuel use.
  • Comply with laws. Vermont has laws that restrict idling.

The process

In a five-step process, students collect data on idling, educate drivers about idling, then collect more data to see how much effect the campaign has on behavior.

  • Step 1: Fall: Initial training session in the classroom.
  • Step 2: October or November: Students unobtrusively conduct four to five days of initial data on idling vehicles, utilizing note-taking and timing devices, and submit findings to VEEP.
  • Step 3: November–January: School announces support for idle-free campaign in school community, taking steps that include installing new no-idling signs (provided by project), notice in school newsletter and on website, and optional letter and pledge to parents and delivery companies.
  • Step 4: March: Students conduct a driver contact event over two or three days, reaching out to idling drivers with information handout and idle-free window decal, asking them to take no-idling pledge.
  • Step 5: April or May: Students unobtrusively conduct four to five days of final data on idling to evaluate effects of their educational efforts, and submit findings to VEEP.

Also recommended: schools without no-idling guidelines (board approved policy, administrative procedure, or handbook rule) adopt them, based on study findings.

Idle-Free Schools Campaign Toolkit

Teachers at each participating school receive a comprehensive toolkit, including campaign handout materials and reflective aluminum no-idling signs. You will receive a link to the toolkit after contacting VEEP to sign up.

Go Idle Free!

VEEP is supporting Idle-Free School Campaigns for the first time this year. If you’re interested in taking it on this year with support from VEEP, contact Cara at info@veep.org or 802-552-VNRG. 

The campaign was developed by the EPA and was previously supported for several years by Idle-Free Vermont.