Dec 10

How Does the SEE® Program Work?

The SEE® program is a fully customizable energy reduction plan for K-12 schools which focuses on behavior-based energy efficiency strategies. This means that rather than looking only at things like equipment upgrades and alternative energy sources, we focus on how your current systems are using energy…and how the people within your buildings are using energy.

Then we recommend strategies to help the systems and people operate as efficiently as they can each and every day. Helping people understand energy use – and changing their actions around its consumption – is a big job. Unlike new equipment, you don’t simply “install” a behavior program and move on. Rather, we use a proven reiterative change management process that winds its way through every department in your district: from the boiler room, to the board room to the classroom.

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Dec 10

Happy Holidays from one of our Partners, the City of Elk River!

CLASS 5 is thrilled to be working with several cities in Minnesota as part of a CARD Grant pilot which brings behavior-based energy efficiency to city buildings.  Each of our participants (Duluth, Elk River, Minnetonka, Northfield and White Bear Lake) are provided with several resources for making energy conservation a part of their culture…however they are also tasked with coming up with their own fun and innovative ways to engage both city staff, and community members.

One of those cities, Elk  River, decided that this year saying Happy Holidays also mean reminding folks to be energy efficient when they decorate!  Check out this great video – and remember to choose energy efficient decor for your home and organization as well!




Dec 02

Energy Use in the Staff Lounge – Do You Know How Much it Costs?

When we discuss energy management with schools, we talk a lot about common areas, such as the staff energycostslounge. It’s a place where lights get left on, coffee pots stay warm all day and small appliances are never unplugged. It’s easy to assume that controlling energy cost in one room couldn’t possibly make much of a difference. But these areas are often filled with energy-sucking items that are rarely used and because people only spend a few minutes of their day in the lounge, no one does a great job of policing whether these items are ever turned off.

Common areas are a place where energy-related signage and communication are a must! The SEE program provides your district with lots of different posters, tip sheets and hand outs – but each building also has their own unique set of energy-consuming equipment, so creating additional personalized signs are a great idea as well!

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Nov 25

Non-Traditional Schools Can Be Energy Efficient, Too!

We often get asked: “What type of district can benefit from the SEE Program?” Our answer: ANY and ALL!

We have worked with districts large and small; urban, suburban and rural; in our home state of Minnesota and out-state; in traditional public schools and non-traditional schools alike. What we have found is that every school that makes a commitment to SEE has the potential to be successful.

Whether you are a single-building private school, large public district or intermediate school, , behavior-based energy conservation programs can fit your needs. Because we focus on the people and unique aspects of each of your buildings rather than the mechanical infrastructure, we can customize conservation strategies in ways that other programs don’t.

Check out how one non-traditional school district saved money and reduced energy:

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Nov 19

How Long Should an Energy Program Last? Case Study: South Washington County Schools

When a district first begins working with us, they often ask: How long should we plan on implementing SEE? The truth is, the answer is up to you! We often advise that a two-year minimum commitment is where you start. This is to ensure that all departments and buildings in your district have a chance to be integrated into the program, that all of the proper groundwork is laid and that the culture of energy conservation has a chance to truly take hold. From there, though, the sky is the limit!

We have districts that have implemented the program for the initial two years and then made the decision to continue their energy conservation efforts on their own. We also have districts that have stayed with the program for more than 10 years! These districts have recognized the significant cultural and financial benefits of maintaining a connection with SEE’s proven change process, our consultants, and our resources.

Read about one district that stayed with the SEE program for seven years and continued to find more and more ways to conserve!

South Washington County Schools reduced energy use by nearly 22% and avoided more than $3 million in energy costs.

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Nov 09

Energy Fun Facts

ne of the most common things we are asked for is “fun facts” about how to save energy As part of the SEE program, we advocate for communicating often and to everyone about energy conservation, its benefits, how people can help and what your district is doing. In order to stay fresh, it’s good to have several messages to choose from. It’s also a good practice to use different communications vehicles. Perhaps your district has a Twitter or Facebook account that you could post a message on. Or, maybe you have a staff intranet that you can put messages on daily or weekly.


However you choose to communicate – remember to do it often and keep it fun!do-this-not-that-school Read the rest of this entry »

Oct 25

Teach Your Students to Recycle with Fun Videos

Looking for some fun ways to teach your kids about recycling and being green? One SEE® school district in Farmington, Minnesota decided to get the students involved so that they could teach each other about the benefits of energy conservation.

The result? A series of informative videos that not only have a great message, but are also fun!

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Oct 10

The 2-Hour Per Building Rule for K-12 Energy Efficiency

Our experience has shown us that it’s critical to have a person dedicated to coordinating your district’s energy conservation efforts – but how much time do they need to spend each week to be successful?

This is a common question our clients ask when we tell them that appointing or hiring an Energy Coordinator is one of the top 3 keys to success when implementing a behavior-based energy program.

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Oct 04

Top 13 Behaviors to Save Energy in Schools

he first thing schools ask when they start working with us is “What should we do first?”

There are literally hundreds of energy saving strategies provided by the SEE® program, both operationalbehaviors-to-save-energy-schools and behavioral.   But we understand that in order to jump start things, you need a quick reference list of the things you can start doing today to get the biggest bang for your buck.

We always say that saving energy isn’t about one person doing 100 things; it’s about everyone in the district doing one or two things every day that make a big difference.

Every drop in the bucket counts! To get things going, share this list of the top 13 things everyone should be doing every day to save energy in your schools!


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Sep 22

Green Apple Day of Service

This year’s Green Apple Day of Service will take place on Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014.

What is the Green Apple Day of Service? Started by The Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the goal of the Green Apple movement is to “give individuals, companies and organizations the opportunity to transform all our schools into healthy, safe, cost-efficient and productive learning places.”

The Day of Service is a volunteer-based event that includes schools all over the world!  Individuals plan their own unique events around sustainability, recycling, energy conservation, recycling and more.  Events could include campus clean ups, planting gardens, creating signs, recycling drives or anything your community can come up with!

Ready to get involved?  Head to the Green Apple website and search for events in your area, or register your own project!

green apple day of service

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