Starside Elementary getting greener
The green initiatives at Starside Elementary just keep coming.
The school received a $4,500 Clean Energy Grant from the Kansas Association for Conservation and Environmental Education. Officials at the school, which was named a Kansas Green School last year, decided to put the grant toward the purchase of three solar panels and a mini-wind turbine.
The solar panels and wind turbine will be affixed near the front entrance of the building, above the administration offices.
Starside Principal Jessica Dain told the USD 232 Board of Education at Monday’s meeting the location of the panels and wind turbine would allow students to see them each day upon entering school.
Along with the panels and turbine the school will receive Andalay, an integrated solar power system, to record the clean energy produced.
The system will have a Web site where students across the district can access to monitor the energy harvested, Dain said.
Installation and material for the turbine and panels is expected to cost about $12,000.
The Starside Student Council donate $6,900 toward the cost. Dain said she expected the school’s annual Earth Day Garage Sale in April to produce the final $600.
Dain said the addition of the panels and turbine were exciting for students and staff.
Testing is a critical part of school and the panels and wind turbine offer a way for students to look at building character, she said.
Paula Henderson, counselor, said panels and wind turbine offer a unique educational experience for students.
“The beauty of this is that there is an educational kiosk with it,” she said. “Anyone can get into our Web site to see how much energy we are producing that day, last month or how much one of the solar panels has produced since it's been there. So it's lots of fun.”
Dain said once the money is secured, it would take four to six weeks to get building permits, contracts signed, the system designed, installed and documented.
Henderson said students were excited about the latest green initiatives at the school.
“I think this opens up a whole different avenue of environmental education for us,” she said. “Through our Web site and display panel, kids will see that, yes those things work and it is green energy. We are not polluting the air any, but still getting the energy.”