Krista Battles, who teaches seventh grade life science at Barre Town Middle Elementary School in Barre, VT, was able to guide her students in making real change in the school’s energy use last year as part of VEEP’s Green School Energy Challenge program.

Battles’ students chose to focus on lighting. Erin Malloy, long-time VEEP educator, and Andy Shapiro, VEEP’s director of engineering, offered support to Battles and her students at several points in their project to replace fluorescent fixtures in the school hallways with LEDs.

Seventh-grade students at Barre Town Middle Elementary School with one of the new LED lights that will replace energy-hogging fluorescents in the school.

Malloy laid the groundwork with an in-class Electricity & the Environment workshop. Then students borrowed VEEP’s light meter kit to help collect data on existing light bulbs. Shapiro helped students brainstorm solutions and work through technical questions.

“Erin and Andy both had a super broad base of knowledge,” Battles says. “They were able to guide students in their thinking. They never said something wasn’t possible. They said, ‘Well, OK, that’s one way to do it, here are the drawbacks,’ and let the students come to it themselves.”

Battles has especially high praise for Malloy. “Erin’s ability to customize and meet the needs of what the students ask for specifically is a huge strength,” she says. “I couldn’t believe how well she did that. I was so grateful.”

The student-led lighting replacement project will reduce the school’s electricity use by 3,000 killowatt hours per year, according to Battles, saving $900 a year in energy costs.


Imagine if every student and teacher in Vermont and New Hampshire had this kind of education and support. Your donation will help VEEP bring our energy programming to more schools around the region, moving us toward sustainability in our communities, economy, and environment. Donate today!

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