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Renewables Proposal

What will it take to get U-32 to be renewable again? This is the question that I have based my
independent study around this semester. So far I have concluded that there is still work to be done at U-32
regarding where our campus’ energy is coming from. I believe that it is crucial that U-32 switch to
renewable energy because we have been renewably sourced before so it is our duty to the planet and
taxpayers to have renewable energy again.

Currently our school uses around 2 Megawatts of power annually. This energy is not sourced
renewably, it is powered by natural gas generators which are by no means renewable sources of energy.
This is why we need to switch to renewable energy and we need to do it now to set a good example for
other schools that ay want to convert in the future. According to the U-32 Middle/High School Budget
2018-2019, the budget for electricity this year is $182,000. This is a lot of monetary output for
non-renewably sourced power. In an article about the previous hydro deal, it was stated that U-32 saved
around $10,000 annually by partaking in a power-purchase agreement with the Kingsbury Dam in North
Montpelier:
“The school saved about 10,000 dollars a year, which is a small fraction in the 15 million dollar
budget”(Robyn Dudley, The Chronicle).

It was also stated in the article that maybe we have enough money to not care about where our
power comes from. This is not the precedent that we want to set as a school that has been renewable
before and has received an award for being in the top 25% of energy efficient As a progressive school we
need to think about where our resources come from and our duty to the taxpayers to do what we can to be
less wasteful and use our budget in a more effective, environmentally friendly way. $10,000 annually for
the past two years was completely wasted when the dam wanted to renew and extend the contract. The
superintendent felt that things were moving too fast and we did not end up following through. When
partaking in the deal we saved around $10,000 dollars annually which could have gone to the currently
struggling food service or the special education department:
“‘They would pay us 90% of their savings,” Porter said. “Which would create a 10% savings for them’”
“‘We had a very simple, safe contract,’” says Porter. ‘There was no risk for them’”​(Robbie Porter, The
Chronicle).

My goal in writing this is to highlight these possible savings to the U-32 School Board with the
help of The Green Team to get us back on a renewable contract through a similar deal to that of the
Kingsbury Dam. Sadly, there might not be another deal as good as the Dam contract in the next few years
but I will be working with Efficiency Vermont to get at least a portion of our power to be sourced
renewably. Efficiency Vermont awarded us as an “Energy Star” school in 2015 for being in the top 25%
of most efficient schools in the U.S. Since we backed out of the hydro deal we are no longer nearly as
efficient as we were previously. So who better to help us get back to the top than Efficiency Vermont, the
very organization who awarded us for being renewable? I’m sure they have some ideas about how we
could get back to being renewable again and give insight on the next steps.
A good way to make change is to educate peers on what the impacts they have on the
environment are and help them change the way they use carbon. Iona Bristol and I are currently writing a
newsletter to educate students on what they can do to reduce waste output as well as their carbon
footprint. A few things we focused on were recycling, composting, driving less and using reusable
products. U-32 is already becoming more eco-friendly since The Green Team helped the food service
eliminate single-use products. The ball has been set in motion and it is our duty to the taxpayers, the
students, and the earth to do everything we can in order to become more eco-friendly.