Little focuses the mind as quickly as economic realities.
“Hawaii takes $7 billion from our economy for fuel alone and sends it overseas. It was reported recently that tourism spending has brought in almost $9 billion this year. We basically take a huge chunk of that income and give it away.” Robbie Alm, executive vice president of Hawaiian Electric Co. (West Hawaii Today, Energy Lab Coming To HPA Campus)
Combine that kind of overhead with life on the islands- natural beauty and resources that require stewardship, limited resources and space, but an abundance of renewable wind, geothermal and hydro power options- and you find the genesis of Hawaii Preparatory Academy‘s Energy Lab.
“…The energy lab concept developed at a Go Green workshop in May 2007, when a group of students, faculty, administrators and parents met for an intensive day-long session to create a vision for a sustainable campus.”
“The idea of the energy lab kept coming up in our small group discussion, which was focused on energy,” Wiecking said. “In an hour, we had covered the walls with sticky notes. There were tremendous ideas — from all the things we could do in alternate energy, recycling, co-generation and wind, to metering electricity on every building on campus, to becoming energy self-sufficient and possibly even an energy exporter.”
A Hawaii Prep parent with extensive experience in green energy utilities participated in the energy group discussion and saw the energy lab as a “logical necessity.” He and his wife made a commitment to fund the energy lab.
“Our generation will not change,” said the donor, who wishes to remain anonymous. “The alarm is getting louder and louder, and the sad thing is that we are consuming our kids’ future.” (WHT)
The 6,000+ sq. ft. lab will harness natural wind and sun energy while providing the educational and scientific spaces.
“We’ll do the research and find out the best way to do things, model best practices with the kids and share what we learn with the community,” said (upper school science teacher Bill Wiecking) , who sees the outreach component extending beyond local communities and schools to hosting national and international summer conferences, which is a natural extension of the lab’s mission of education, monitoring, and outreach. (WHT)
Photo credit: Hawaii Preparatory Academy