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Rudolf Steiner Schools Receives Solar PV and Energy Audit

Posted by Natalie Young on 05 Jul 2011
Rudolf Steiner Schools go solar, get energy efficiency audits
Original article posted by Concentrate Media on April 20, 2011

Y can say that this spring, students will graduate from Rudolf Steiner High School with green distinction. The high school and Lower School are the only ones in Ann Arbor thus far to receive grants from Energy Works' Michigan Renewable Schools Program for both a renewable energy project and energy efficiency upgrades.

At the end of May, Rudolf Steiner High School will be installing a 10kW photovoltaic solar panel system on its roof. The $85,000 system cost was covered through a $42,500 grant from Energy Works, $24,000 in rebates from DTE Energy, and the school paying the remaining $18,500 balance, according to Katrina Klaphake, development director at the Rudolf Steiner School.

As part of the grant, science teachers attended a workshop on how to integrate the renewable energy system into their curriculum, and there will be opportunities to bring speakers in to discuss careers in the renewable energy field with students.

The solar panel installation is in line with the high school's eco-friendly ethos, which includes a Conservation Club that has preserved an acre of hardwood forest and planted another with prairie flowers. Students have made field trips to a working organic farm and also run recycling and composting programs.

And the Lower School recently received a $5,000 Energy Works grant to conduct an energy efficiency audit. The school has implemented most of the recommendations, including a new boiler installation and replacement of all lightbulbs and ballasts with compact florescent reflector flood lamps and screw-in lamps, Klaphake says.

One piece of anecdotal evidence of energy savings at the Lower School over the last few months, Klaphake says, is that DTE Energy sent service people out to check on the electric meter. "So they actually thought the meter wasn't working because it looked like we hadn't been using as much energy as we had in the past at the same time during the year."

Cost savings factors into the schools' eco-conscious model, Klaphake says, "but it also shows our students and educates our families on how solar energy works and what you can do with it."

Source: Katrina Klaphake, development director, Rudolf Steiner School

By: Tanya Muzumdar

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