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HUEE school grants promote energy efficiency

By Katie Pohlman

In middle schools throughout the Kansas City metro area, students have the opportunity to create public service announcements (PSAs) about energy efficiency and win grants for their schools.

Qualified schools can enter their PSAs into the Heartland Utilities for Energy Efficiency’s (HUEE) school grant contest and be judged on the energy efficiency impact the proposed idea will have on their school, solutions to the energy conservation problem as well as entertainment appeal, originality and creativity.

Schools in Cass, Clay, Jackson, Platte and Ray counties in Missouri and Johnson, Leavenworth and Wyandotte counties in Kansas are eligible to enter the HUEE contest. Six to eight schools submit projects every year and the top three schools in each state are awarded first place ($3,000), second place ($2,000) or third place ($750) to be used for their school.

“We believe it is important that kids learn at an early age the importance of energy conservation and the impact energy has on the environment,” HUEE President Margaret Steele said. “Hopefully, it will build lifelong habits of conserving energy and environmental awareness.”

This year the third place grant will be increased to $1,000 due to a member rejoining HUEE, Steele said. She said the HUEE board is hopefully that will encourage more schools to participate in the contest.

HUEE was developed in 2002 by a local group of utilities and consists of Atmos Energy, Independence Power and Light, Kansas City, KS Board of Public Utilities, Kansas Gas Service, Missouri Gas Energy and Platte-Clay Electric Cooperative.

The 2015 contest marked the fifth year of the school grant program. The winners were:

  • Kearney Junior High School in Kearney, MO and Spring Hill Middle School in Spring Hill, KS, received $3,000 each for first place.
  • Oakhill Day School in Gladstone, MO, and Northwest Middle School in Kansas City, KS, received $2,000 for second place.
  • Kearney Middle School in Kearney, MO and Piper Middle School in Kansas City, KS, received $750 for third place.

As part of the application process, schools must describe how the grant funding would be used for an energy conservation project. Steele said proposed projects have included energy upgrades, energy efficiency education programs and solutions to energy efficiency problems.

Dorothy Beckham, communications and marketing coordinator for Oakhill Day School, said the grant money the school received was used to provide technology updates. Beckham said the PSA project fit well with the school’s commitment to energy efficiency. Students already participated in recycling, composting, tours of solar panels on the school’s roof and turning off lights when leaving rooms.

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