It was another first for Santa Monica High School (Samohi): an Energy Fair to increase the awareness of the Samohi community about sustainable energy usage and the benefits of energy efficiency.
The Samohi Student Environmental Task Force, which has been working with the California Energy Coalition on solutions to help curb global warming, organized the fair, which included both presentations and tables with materials from various organizations on energy usage. Scientists have linked global warming to generating carbon dioxide by the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and gasoline.
Nicole Green from the Energy Coalition explained that contrary to popular belief home electricity use causes about twice the air pollution and carbon dioxide of cars that use fossil fuels. This is because the burning of fossil fuels generates most electricity used today. A way to deal with this problem is to generate electricity from “resources like the wind, the sun or geothermal heat.”
Green also suggested that consumers use newer technology that is usually more energy efficient, particularly those that have been certified as Energy Star by the federal government. She noted that newer refrigerators use about half as much electricity as older ones and the newer Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFLs) use about a quarter of the energy a regular light bulb uses. Finally, Green recommended conserving energy to become more energy efficient and shifting your electric usage away from peak demand periods to help avoid blackouts. Peak demand occurs between noon and 6 p.m., especially on hot days. She, like many of the other speakers, emphasized that using energy more efficiently will not only be better for the environment, but will also help people save money.
Attendees also got the chance to sign up for a residential tune-up (energy audit) if they live in Santa Monica. This tune-up involves a visit from a contractor and some students from the Task Force coming into a residence and recommending changes that can be made to make a home more energy efficient, which can include almost $200 in improvements.
Other organizations that participated in the fair were the Samohi Solar Alliance, the City of Santa Monica Energy and Green Building Programs, the Sustainable Works Residential Greening Program and the Energy Coalition Utility partners – Southern California Edison and Southern California Gas Company. The fair was held as part of Samohi’s monthly Parent Teacher Student Association meeting.