'Empowered' Depicts a Renewable Energy Revolution
Independent filmmaker and environmental activist Shira Evergreen recently released a documentary depicting the story of one community's role in the renewable energy revolution. Based in Ithaca, NY, Empowered: Power from the People features interviews with everyday people from a variety of backgrounds who are meeting their energy needs using solar, wind, geothermal, biodiesel and other strategies.
“I made Empowered in collaboration with Suzanne McMannis, an organic farmer who has been living off-grid for over 12 years,” says Evergreen. “We are both active in the anti-fracking movement in upstate New York and wanted to make a movie that demonstrates how practical, affordable and fun it can be to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. And since Ithaca is one of the most overcast, least windy places in the country, the film argues that if it can be done here, it can and should be done all around the country.”
The film is expected to be screened at a variety of upcoming film festivals including the Colorado Environmental Film Festival this February and the Washington DC Environmental Film Festival this March. The DVD can also be purchased from the website, which can be used for organized screenings in communities across the nation.
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.