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Energy Department, National Science Teachers Choose Home Energy Ed Challenge Winners

The United States Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) have chosen the winners of the America's Home Energy Education Challenge (AHEEC).

AHEEC asked students in grades 3-8 to come up with plans, with the help of their science teachers and a local utility company, to reduce the energy used in their schools and homes.

The winners, which included sixth graders from Indiana's South Ripley Elementary School and sixth and seventh graders fromConnecticut's Villa Maria School, "were judged on several criteria, including energy and cost savings, overall quality and presentation of the team narrative, focus on behavioral changes and creativity of local school involvement," according to a news release. The top prize was $10,000 for each school.

"This competition engages our future scientists, researchers and engineers in the effort to save money by saving energy, while also protecting the environment and contributing to our clean energy economy," said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, in a prepared statement. "By applying the math and science skills they are learning at school, these students are making a difference, inspiring their families and communities to make choices to save energy and reduce emissions, moving the U.S. closer to its low carbon future."

The South Ripley team partnered with a representative of SolarZentrum to learn about solar panels as they researched alternative energy and efficiency. They then presented their research to staff and community members and launched a campaign to save energy by turning off lights in unused rooms, and wearing season-appropriate clothing to reduce the need for heating. The initiative saved South Ripley Elementary $1,600, which is being used to buy a solar panel.

The Villa Maria School team worked on reducing energy consumption at home while learning about conservation and how energy is produced. "Throughout the project, teachers at Villa Maria School used examples from their own homes in stories, photos and videos, which helped the students develop a more robust energy savings plan," according to a news release. "Students also took a field trip to the Connecticut Science Center in Hartford, where they explored the 'Energy City' exhibit and learned more about energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies."

Five other teams received an honorable mention and $1,000 for their projects. They include Academy for Science and Design, Al-Falah Academy, Cold Spring Elementary School, Ekalaka Elementary School and Morningside Elementary School.

For more information, or to see a full list of winners, visit

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at [email protected].