The places where we spend our lives can change our livesThe world is changing. And with it, education needs to change, too. Kids need to learn for the future that awaits them, and they can’t do that with educational methods from the past. New teaching methods need a new teaching environment. And at Pine Grove Middle School in East Syracuse, New York, building technology from Siemens helps to create the new learning environment that new minds need.
Pine Grove Middle School: This building changes futuresPine Grove Middle School is one of seven schools in East Syracuse Minoa Central School District (ESM) in New York, educating 3,750 students every year. With a realization that the world has undergone dramatic changes – not least in the world of employment, and the skills required – the educators at Pine Grove made a decision that education needed to change.
The world has changed, and education needed to change, too. We changed how the students learn. We changed what they learn. That meant changing where they learn.Adrienne Turbeville, Content Literacy Support Teacher at Pine Grove Middle School
The right conditions make learning possibleCentral New York is known for its extremes of temperature with burning hot summers and nine-foot snowdrifts in the winter. To ensure that the students are comfortable and focused, temperature control is an important element. And as a state-funded educational institution, energy efficiency is just as important to the school. Because the US$500,000 saved on energy every year can be invested directly into improving the educational environment.
New teaching methods require new technology
Since East Syracuse Minoa School District (ESM) is a learning organization, enhancing its overall educational environment for the students is a key concern for the district. By partnering with Siemens to make energy-efficient facility improvements ESM has been able to not only save money, but realize their vision by implementing a new teaching and learning model.
ESM developed an integrated learning approach teaching subjects collaboratively to help students develop their STREAM (Science, Technology, Research, Engineering, Arts and Math) knowledge, as well as problem-solving and presentation skills and abilities. Siemens partnered with ESM to transform the curriculum, from pre-kindergarten through grade 12, to develop true transdisciplinary projects through consultative support and hosting symposiums.
One partner, many objectives
In 2008, ESM was looking for a business and technology partner who could help them enhance energy efficiency in all of its eight buildings with a solution that would also contribute to the overall learning process for ESM students and staff.
In addition to reducing energy costs, ESM also wanted to fund building and energy efficiency improvements through energy savings, improve energy conservation and provide energy awareness and education for the students, faculty, and staff. In addition, the district wanted to create community awareness for its energy and environmentally responsible programs and demonstrate the use of alternative energy technologies. Siemens retrofitted the lighting throughout the district, and implemented premium efficiency motors as well as variable frequency drive pumps and fans. New windows and doors and a district-wide energy management system as well as new boiler plants in four buildings help ESM to save as much electricity in a month as 6.2 average American homes consume in a whole year. In addition, Siemens installed a 25 kW solar power system to further demonstrate ESM’s sustainability efforts.
Financing investments through sustainable energy savings
ESM will generate estimated energy savings of US$500,000 annually over the term of the 18-year Energy Performance Contracting. Siemens’ energy saving solutions have also funded significant, energy-efficient building improvements at ESM. No additional costs to the local taxpayers have been incurred, and the district has been able to conserve energy and realize an immediate utility cost savings. To ensure that energy savings are achieved, a measurement and verification program is in place for the district.