Students also have an opportunity to conduct a group “energy audit” in their school and identify areas that could benefit from energy-savings upgrades. SMECO works with the school’s facility manager to install basic energy-efficient products or collaborate on incentives available for larger projects.
The benefits of community education
When done well, a school-based program’s benefits go beyond energy savings. An EE education program raises awareness about energy consumption and efficiency among students, equipping them with the necessary knowledge and tools to reduce their energy footprint.
The success of the Schools Program highlights the value of community education in promoting EE. By engaging with students and families, SMECO is encouraging energy-saving practices and fostering a conservationist mindset—and building energy-conscious habits from an early age.
By directly involving teachers, the Schools Program allows SMECO to promote EE within the education community. This approach empowers educators to integrate energy conservation concepts into their teaching, further broadening the program's impact.
Future sustainability with SMECO’s model
Looking ahead, there is potential for more utilities to realize the benefits of community education by partnering with the right organization and using programs like SMECO’s as a blueprint.
By following established state curriculum standards—and providing engaging and turnkey lesson plans, student activities, and handouts—utilities can effectively address educator challenges and encourage the adoption of energy-efficient practices for a brighter future.