Team effort pays off for Home Energy Challenge winners

Teachers, students and parents earn cash prizes for their schools

Release Date: 5/25/2017

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Home Energy Challenge Winners

HONOLULU, May 25, 2017 - It’s all about being aware of how you’re using electricity and correcting energy-wasting habits—that’s how you win the Hawaiian Electric Home Energy Challenge.

“The Home Energy Challenge is a positive example of the partnership Hawaiian Electric has with the Hawai‘i Department of Education,” said Darcy Endo-Omoto, Hawaiian Electric vice president of government and community affairs. “By supporting schools with teaching materials and engaging programs, we can encourage students’ development in many areas, ranging from the application of science, engineering and math principles to sustainability and environmental protection.”

After learning about energy conservation in school, students and their families from participating schools volunteered to take on the challenge to reduce their electricity use at home over a six-month period. The schools whose families reduced their electricity use by the largest percentage earned cash prizes for their schools, provided by Hawaiian Electric.

Congratulations to the grand prize winners of the 10th annual Home Energy Challenge!

1st Place, $10,000 prize, Aina Haina Elementary School
2nd Place, $6,000 prize, Kamiloiki Elementary School
3rd Place, $3,000 prize, Palisades Elementary School

The prize money for Aina Haina will be put to good use, according to Principal Brendan Burns. “In alignment with the schools vision and mission, we will apply the $10,000 to electronic technology for the classrooms and well provide specialized training to our teachers.”

Aina Haina Elementary's participating families shaved more than 6.5 percent off their electricity use for a savings on their electric bills of $19,310. Kamiloikis families reduced their electricity use by more than 3.5 percent, for a savings of $9,766. And Palisades families cut back more than 2.3 percent and saved $6,520.

Lauren Yoshioka, fourth grader at Aina Haina explained, “My family and I switched lightbulbs to LED bulbs, used fans instead of air conditioning, and turned off lights in the room when no one was using them.”

Also a fourth grader at Aina Haina, Victoria Brown spoke about correcting her biggest energy-wasting habit. “I like using electronics, so I needed to play less on the computer, watch TV less, and turn them off when not in use.”

The Home Energy Challenge program offers a variety of other projects throughout the school year, including a social media contest, a New Years energy resolution drawing contest, and an energy conservation campaign competition, each with different prizes for the schools and students.

“In that way the conservation message is reinforced throughout the school year and touches every child in the school,” explained Sam Nichols, Hawaiian Electric senior community affairs consultant.

This year eight schools, over 6,000 students, participated in the Home Energy Challenge: Aina Haina, Enchanted Lake, Hahaione, Kainalu, Kamiloiki, Maemae, Nuuanu, and Palisades elementary schools.

About the Home Energy Challenge
The Home Energy Challenge documents the average daily kilowatt-hour electricity use at participating elementary school students homes during the months of October through March, while students and their families implement energy conservation tactics. The data is compared with historical data from the previous year, October through March. To ensure that schools of all sizes are able to compete evenly, the top prizes are awarded to the schools whose students average home energy use decreases by the largest percentage.