DISTRICT | April 22, 2021
Happy Earth Day! Part of providing a high-quality education to every child in our district includes teaching them about—and in— healthy, sustainable environments. CPS Goes Solar!, a project led by the Director of Energy and Sustainability Sandrine Schultz, is one part of our energy and sustainability mission to reduce long-term energy costs by installing solar panels at school buildings and educate students about solar energy and careers in the field. Here, she shares more about the program and how school community members can get involved:
What is CPS Goes Solar? How and why did the program start?
CPS Goes Solar! is a project designed to support the district in our goal to:
- 100% renewable energy consumption by 2025
- reduce our overall greenhouse gas emissions by 45% by2030 and 100% by 2050
- educate students through classroom and real-world learning opportunities related to solar installations at their schools.
We started this program because our young people will undoubtedly bear the impact of the climate crisis. As leaders, we have an obligation to not only listen to their thoughts and concerns about the crisis, educate them on the science, technologies, and strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and support their efforts to mitigate climate change
Which schools and community partners are participating in the program?
This year, 11 CPS schools have been awarded grants this year by the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation to help teach students about and install photovoltaic solar panel systems at their schools! We have 17 schools participating in the program districtwide.
What are some of the additional benefits of the program?
By reducing the district’s greenhouse gas emissions, we’ll:
- cut our operating costs by 25%, saving a potential $11 million
- make progress towards the City of Chicago’s goal of 100% clean, renewable energy consumption in its buildings by 2035.
- increase energy awareness and environmental stewardship in our school communities.
How can students, staff, and administrators interested in the program participate in CPS Goes Solar! or programs like it?
Anyone can reach out to us via email at cpsgoessolar@.edu. The Office of Energy and Sustainability is currently working on programs involving utility consumption reduction, alter waste management, recycling, water conservation, and alternative fuel vehicles and would love members of all our school communities to join us!