The Enviropower pilot project

Michael Fenton, M.Sc., Dip.Tchg. EnviroPower Technical Advisor, Ministry of Education eLearning Fellow, Microsoft Innovative Teacher

The first of its type ever attempted in New Zealand, the Energy Conservation and Renewable Energy Generation Pilot Project was installed at Taranaki's Inglewood High School.

The pilot was a success...using energy conservation and renewable energy generation aimed at reducing the school's electricity demand from the national grid by 15% in 12 months.

Jamie Fenton and Chad Oliver were the two wining student entries for a name and a logo for the project. The new EnviroPower name and logo were used extensively to promote the benefits of energy conservation and renewable energy.

Enviropower logo

Using a combination of conservation initiatives, renewable energy generation technologies installation, and the integration of conservation and renewable energy subjects into the classroom curriculum, the project is expected to kickstart a 'multiplier effect' by encouraging tandem energy conservation in students' Inglewood homes.

At the start of the project in 2007, Venture Taranaki chief executive Stuart Trundle said the school and its 392 student families will become the national spotlight in the twin energy challenges facing New Zealand.

"New Zealand lags the developed world in energy conservation and the uptake of renewable energy generation technologies," Mr Trundle said.

"This project aims to support the Government's draft New Zealand Energy Strategy to 2050. The advantage of targeting secondary school students is the potential multiplier effect it could have on the individual student's home conservation behaviour. "

The pilot involved:

  • Promoting conservation within the school environment by installing timers and insulation on hot water cylinders, replacing bulbs with low energy types, switch timers on lights, replace standard desktop PCs with LCD-screened laptops

  • Change classroom behaviour to encourage turning off lights and electrical equipment after use

  • Using check metres to demonstrate electricity usage and savings over time, both in the classroom and in the home

  • Promoting conservation opportunities in the home, targeting the parent body

  • Installing solar hot water generation systems

  • Installing a wind turbine

  • Installing a demonstration model micro hydro turbine.



Inglewood High School leading the way in power reduction pilot...


There was plenty of EnviroPower-related teaching occurring in classrooms.

The electricity generating photo-voltaic arrays (solar cells) were installed at the end of 2007. These can be seen on the right side of the roof of the Technology Block at the front of the school. They provide free electricity to the school grid and are particularly effective on the bright days that we have been having recently.


Mr Michael Lawley from EcoInnovations

with the "Energy Trailer" demonstrating solar energy being converted to electricity.

Mr Merv Hayward digs the trench for the wind turbine

Up, up and away...the wind turbine being raised into position

Close up of the photvoltaic cells up on the Technology Block roof



After much planning, preparation and red tape the Skystream wind turbine was installed on the front field on January 29th 2008. The turbine generates a steady flow of electricity to the school even in light wind conditions. Perhaps most importantly, the turbine is a strong visual symbol for EnviroPower and has attracted the attention of many visitors to the school.

Read a report about the turbine here...

The solar hot water installation was completed. The full installation will be delayed by the difficulty of obtaining the solar collectors. There is a high international demand for solar hot water systems presently. It seems that more and more people are becoming aware of future energy decline and are prepared to make the investment in renewables. Inglewood High School with its wind/photovoltaic/solar hot water generation is on the cutting edge of this trend.

In terms of conservation, computer efficiency measures were installed in the summer break. Room 9 monitors have been upgraded from CRT to LCD panels. Extenda kits have been installed in Room 23. These enable one computer to power 5-6 monitors/keyboards without any noticeable loss of computing power. Consumption was measured before these changes were made. Students of 10KI were involved in monitoring the rooms to see how much electricity had been saved.

While the structural aspects of the project were completed, there was plenty of scope for learning opportunities. Several different subject teachers integrated EnviroPower into their courses.

The Skystream turbine unit ready for action...


Installed on the front field on January 29th 2008

Cutting the ribbon in front of the wind turbine are from left:

  • Stuart Trundle, CEO Venture Taranaki,

  • Abbie Fowler, student representative on the EnviroPower committee,

  • the Honourable Jeanette Fitzsimmons, Government spokesperson on energy efficiency and conservation,

  • Lucy Green, the Ministry for the Environment

  • and His Worship the Mayor Peter Tennent.

Energy meters put to good use by our team of energy conservationists


TEACHING PEDAGOGIES ... how did we get student involvement?

FINAL REPORT... were we able to educate, conserve & generate?


PHOTO GALLERY 2007 and 2008 progress and activities



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