November 23, 2014


Oberlin schools participating in conservation competition

Prospect Elementary School Principal Jim Eibel and fourth-graders view the school’s Environmental Dashboard, used to track water and energy usage in the building.

Prospect Elementary School Principal Jim Eibel and fourth-graders view the school’s Environmental Dashboard, used to track water and energy usage in the building.

OBERLIN — A city that takes pride in lowering its carbon footprint is instilling the importance of cutting back energy usage to its youngest residents.

On Friday, Oberlin Schools kicked off its first “Ecolympics,” a two-week competition to challenge students, faculty and staff to reduce their electricity use. Students in each school building will compete to receive the top prize by reducing their electricity use by the largest percentage relative to a baseline period that was recorded last month.

Prospect Elementary School Principal Jim Eibel said students already are monitoring their energy consumption through the Oberlin Environmental Dashboard Project in which monitoring devices were placed in each school last year. The project, which was created by Oberlin College professor John Peterson, was made possible by a grant from the Ohio Environmental Projection Agency.

“It’s really awareness of (students’) resources and that they have control over it,” Eibel said of the project.

Oberlin College has led the charge, installing monitoring devices in the university, as well as helping the school district interpret data from its dashboards, which are displayed on flat screens that have been installed near the entrance of each of the schools.

Dashboards are also in place at Slow Train Cafe in downtown Oberlin and the Oberlin Public Library.

The signs display how much electricity and water are being used in each building and suggest ways for students and residents to conserve those resources. The dashboard is also accessible at

Eibel said the students are excited and have been turning off lights in the cafeteria, as well as some of the hallways. Eibel has participated by turning off the lights in his office, anything to reduce electricity usage during the day, he said.

Shane Clark, a senior at Oberlin College, has been helping Environmental Dashboard Project Leader Danny Rosenberg with the project. She said she’s noticed an interest in energy from the students, who have been picking up on their changes, which cause a spike or drop in usage.

Over the past 18 months, the dashboard team has been working with teachers in the Oberlin Schools to develop lesson plans that use the dashboard to strengthen environmental science curriculum and promote conservation.

Fifth-grade teacher Joy Harrison said her class uses the dashboard to investigate global concerns while Ron Bier, a chemistry and environmental science teacher at Oberlin High School, asks his students to examine their own resource use and consumption habits, according to a news release from the district.

During the Oberlin Schools’ Ecolympics, students at Oberlin College will also hold their own competition among dormitories to reduce electricity and water use. The dashboard project started out in the college’s dormitories, according to Rosenberg and Clark.

The Ecolympics began Friday and will end April 25. Prizes for the winning school include dashboard gel wristbands and a school-wide assembly with musical and acrobatic performances.

Those interested in how the schools are doing can visit and select “Building Dashboards.”

Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or Follow her on Twitter @ChelseaMillerCT.


  • golfingirl

    I almost had a heart attack.

    I thought the headline read Oberlin schools participating in “conservaTIVE” competition.

    Now that would have been a misprint.

    • Reagan

      How little you know about Oberlin,

      • golfingirl

        What I do know is the hypocrisy.

        Preach climate change, (used to be called Global Warming, until that myth was dispelled), tell the children how it is destroying the planet, but it is alright to go swimming in you huge indoor poll, which probably uses more energy in a year than 1000 houses!

        Maybe they should teach true sacrifice. Sacrifice which begins at the early age of fifth grade, as in the article above.

        I am sure the children would be happy to close down the energy hog known as the Splash Zone, to assist in energy reduction.

        Once they have to make true sacrifices, they will take a more analytical approach to this whole climate change garbage, and will begin to question its validity.

        • Reagan

          Not going to to get in the climate change debate as I don’t have an opinion on the issue. I just dislike the label game. Liberal this, conservative that, and on and on. Its whats wrong with America today. I now leave you with this.
          us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the
          right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us
          accept our own responsibility for the future.”

          John F. Kennedy

          • golfingirl

            “And let us preach the truth to our children”


          • Reagan

            “Before one can preach the truth, one must know the truth.”


          • golfingirl

            And who decides truth?

            We just disagree here. That’s Okay.

            Have a nice evening.

          • Reagan

            ” Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.”

            Marcus Aurelius

        • alreadyfedup1

          Also please stop using your Iphone or Android device (needs to be recharged). As well as your their tablets and PC’s that USE ENERGY i.e. Electric that needs to be produced by COAL or GAS. Oh they forgot that it had to be produced. I guess recharging an electrical device doesn’t add to the footprint. Liberal thinking???

          • golfingirl

            Not to mention the large flat screen television(s) in the hallways.

        • sunnysunday

          What does the Splash Zone have to do with the Oberlin Schools? Or the city? The Splash Zone is a Lorain County Metro Park. So, the Oberlin City Schools are hypocrites for trying to teach about energy conservation because the Lorain County Metro Parks have a swimming pool within the same city limits? I’m not understanding what you are trying to say. Amherst, Avon Lake and North Ridgeville all have public swimming facilities as well. Does that make their schools hypocrites if they try to teach students in their cities about energy conservation? Why is climate change garbage? Will you elaborate with some scientific facts?

          • golfingirl

            Look outside…it is snowing!

            So much for Global Warming.

  • Sis Delish

    If I had an Orange in one hand and an Apple in the Other, and I visited Oberlin, I would be told I have a Pair and a Peach. That’s what Liberal Colleges do to the Obvious.

  • alreadyfedup1

    Indoctrination at its finast