With an eye towards continued improvement of our campuses and facilities, this fall, an Island School Research Team has engaged with The Deep Creek Middle School (DCMS) in a energy audit and sustainable systems retrofit. With DCMS already an EcoSchool, initiatives like this help Principal Mrs. Katie Bauer maintain her school’s distinguished Green Flag Award status.
As a United Nations recognized Small Island Developing State (SIDS), The Bahamas faces many challenges, specifically pertaining to fossil-based energy. Due to their isolation, SIDS uniquely are heavily reliant on the import of fossil fuels for electricity generation. The Bahamas consumes over 24,000 barrels/day of refined petroleum products to power the Commonwealth and its 30 inhabited islands. This reliance makes production of electricity extremely expensive due to the high transport cost of fuel imports. The Bahamas relies on fossil fuels to meet a staggering 99% of its energy needs. As the demand for energy in SIDS, specifically The Bahamas, increase, it is a necessity that more efficient uses of energy and alternative energy sources be explored. As SIDS struggle to overcome their dependence on fossil fuels for electricity generation, the Center for Sustainable Development intends to demonstrate how the integration of simple renewable energy systems, smart technologies and small measures of conservation can alleviate the effects of reliance on fossil fuels.
As a new Island School Research Project this fall 2017, with assistance from DCMS students, The Small Island Sustainability Retrofit Project is focused specifically on the energy sector and electricity consumption in the classroom buildings and offices at The Deep Creek Middle School. Island School students have been involved in a number of aspects of this project. Most recently, they helped with the installation of solar (AC/DC coupled) air conditioning systems, and a solar hot water heater for DCMS, which should drastically decrease electricity consumption for the school and demonstrate the application of appropriate technology for the school community.
To test this, Island School students have been working with the DCMS 8th grade math class to measure, monitor and model energy usage in the buildings through data collection and analysis. Further, to apply this work with the needs of the community, students from both IS and DCMS will help in calculating a financial analysis of their hard work to a predict payback period on the solar AC units themselves. The students will be presenting their findings not only during the Research Symposium during Parents’ Weekend, but to the Deep Creek community as well.