Registration Begins for America’s Home Energy Challenge

The U.S. Department of Energy and the National Science Teachers Association are teaming up for America’s Home Energy Education Challenge,External link information a contest to help elementary and middle school students learn the science of energy and make wise choices about energy efficiency.

The goal of the competition is to educate America’s youth about the benefits of energy efficiency and the family’s role in energy use while helping families across the country reduce their energy bills. Registration for the nationwide student contest runs from Aug. 16 to Oct. 7, 2011.

The National Science Teachers Association External link information is running the program for DOE. The program will encourage students, teachers and families to learn more about energy use and efficiency, and to become more aware of how homes, schools and utilities are interconnected.

The competition is broken into two parts: the Home Energy Challenge and the Energy Fitness Award. Each is designed to encourage students to learn about science and home energy savings. Participants may choose one or get involved with both.

The Home Energy Challenge is a three-month contest for students and their teachers in the third through eighth grades. Students will collect data about their home energy use during that period and compare it to the previous year’s energy use for the same three months. Schools and classes will compete within 11 regions for more than $200,000 in prizes to be distributed at the regional and national levels of the competition. The first place regional award winners will qualify for the national competition, leading to evaluation for awards.

The second part of competition, the Energy Fitness Award, is an individual challenge that begins Sept. 20, 2011. Modeled after the President’s Physical Fitness Test, the Energy Fitness Award encourages students to complete specific tasks, such as interpreting a home energy bill and learning how to conduct a home energy assessment, and then demonstrate their learning and proficiency.

America’s Home Energy Education Challenge offers utilities a ready-made outreach program to raise consumers’ awareness about energy efficiency and steps they can take to reduce their energy use. It is also a great way to be a hero to teachers in your service territory by providing them with classroom projects to teach science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Not to mention, the chance to win valuable prizes.