George Freeman School's Eco Club held an open house today explaining a green energy project they've been working on for the past month. The club is made up of more than 50 students from grade 4-9, and their project asked: which type of sustainable energy is best in Strathmore, solar or wind?
After installing a solar panel and wind turbine on the roof of their shed, the club monitored how much energy each one was generating. As you went through the open house, groups of students explained different aspects of their project and how it all works. Both sources of energy generated enough power to light the inside of the school's shed with LED lighting strips, but after one month, solar has a significant edge on wind energy.
Some club members explained winter tends to be more windy and there's less daylight, so it's possible wind energy could catch up in the coming months, but at least for October, solar energy is the better option for Strathmore.
Associate Principal of George Freeman School Jill Macdonald explained the project has been especially great at teaching students skills you wouldn't learn in a typical classroom setting.
"This particular project was a great community builder. The things the kids were learning, from using power tools to doing the math to calculate angles and cost per foot of wire, some communication skills and presentations. There's all sorts of kind of broad skills that kids are gaining through these projects," she said.
As for the students, they really enjoyed the project Some students, like Graysen Grant and Ella Parkins, both said their favorite part of the project was cleaning and organizing the shed to make space for all the necessary equipment.
Other students like Zane Greenslade and Case (no last name provided) enjoyed installing the solar panel and wind turbine on the roof. As for which form of energy they thought would be best, it was a split panel.
"I think wind is better, but it depends on the day," said Greenslade.
"Solar is going to win because it's got a better chance. Solar is actually better in the cold than the heat (which is perfect for winter)," said Case.
"I think wind is going to win, because there's always a little breeze out," said Grant.
"Solar, because even when it's a little bit windy the sun will be out," said Parkins.
Even though solar energy had a significant advantage in October, the students who believe wind is better may find that winter conditions are more favorable towards turbines. For now, we'll have to wait and see what their data says as the year goes on.