Solar Panels Energize School
The Gillispie School is dedicated to minimizing its impact on the earth and I am honored to be a part of this “green” movement! Starting in the 2006 school year, I was given the opportunity to teach sustainability and environmental education here at The Gillispie School, and am happy to report that this year we have really gotten off to a great start in “greening-up” Gillispie.
I hope that you have all noticed the increase of recycling around campus, which now includes styrofoam egg cartons, in addition to batteries, cans and bottles. You should also take the time to look at the student flower garden on Fay. St. or even ask to take a tour of our extensive composting system! The outdoor education aspect of teaching sustainability is a great way to let the student’s really dig into the lesson material and to be connected with the earth.
Classroom activities are another exciting and important aspect of our sustainability program. The youngest students are learning the importance of recycling, seeing the magic of solar energy and learning about the incredible ecosystems around them through hands-on activities, games and literature. Our older students are learning about the environmental problems that they will face in their lives but most importantly the solutions to these problems. We will be covering issues such as resource management, the importance of water and water conservation, and the effects of a world economy on a local through global scale. The Fifth grade is currently building solar powered cars to test the limits of solar power applications and we are planning a solar powered fountain for the school grounds which will involve the elementary school in a sustainable project while they learn science, mathematics and art!
I invite all the Gillispie families to look at the sustainability display case and to catch me around campus if you have any questions, ideas for projects, or just want to talk about going green!
Mayor Sanders to “power up” La Jolla school’s solar array and sustainability curriculum.
(La Jolla) On Friday, February 29, 2008, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders will help The Gillispie School celebrate its new 276-panel solar array and accompanying sustainability curriculum.
Mayor Sanders will join 300 children, toddlers through Grade 6, in a morning assembly from 9-9:30 a.m. to ceremonially “flip the switch” on the array. The assembly will also include a brief video of the panels being installed, a short lesson on how the panels work, and the children singing a song about the role of the sun in their lives.
The school has partnered with SDG&E and the California Center for Sustainable Energy to install its array over 53,300 square feet of roof space. The panels, which comprise a 41.4 KW DC photovoltaic system, can supply enough energy to power seven single family homes a year and will meet a significant percentage of Gillispie’s electricity needs. In January alone the array saved more than 35,000 pounds of CO2 from being emitted into the atmosphere.
The assembly will also mark the launch of a curricular initiative titled Gillispie del Sol. As one of San Diego’s leading independent schools, Gillispie already is engaging students in lessons about a number of sustainability topics, including recycling, composting, and schoolyard gardening. “Our new solar array will provide the anchor for exploring a wealth of ‘school as ecosystem’ concepts,” said Margie Edwards, Interim Head of School. Gillispie del Sol will help frame for teachers and students numerous cross curricular connections to the many roles the sun plays in students’ lives.
For example, Grades 3-6 students will go online to track current data about electricity generation. They will then use the data to develop their math and science skills by calculating variations in the amount of energy generated across days and seasons due to changes in the weather.
The Gillispie School is an independent, co-educational school for 300 students in early childhood through the sixth grade. The school’s program is designed to provide an enriching education in a safe, nurturing environment that develops the whole child and addresses each student’s strengths and capabilities. Gillispie faculty and staff strive to graduate students who are enthusiastic about learning, respect diverse backgrounds and talents, and exhibit strength of character.
Gillispie Solar Visualization Reports
- 41.4 KW system
- Each panel is 61.8″ x 37.5″
- 193.125 sq. ft. per panel
- 276 panels
- 53,302.5 square feet of coverage
- Installed and live August 15, 2007
- Meets x% of school’s energy needs
- Saves monthly x lbs of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere
- January 08 CO2 reduction equaled 15,882.27 kg or 35,014.4117 lbs
- Jan 08 energy production equaled 3896 kWh
- Panels work on light and not heat, so it can be cold outside