Energy Clubs - An Electricity Consumer Cells Initiative

Wed, 06/04/2022 - 16:28
Edition
January - March 2022

Energy clubs, an initiative of CAG’s Electricity Consumer Cells (ECC), were launched in June 2021, in five schools across three districts in Tamil Nadu - Trichy, Vellore & Tirunelveli. The central objective of the ‘Energy Club’ is to educate, encourage and enable young adults to save energy so that the ongoing energy crisis can be addressed. The club aims to  improve young adults’ understanding of household energy consumption and create awareness around energy conservation and energy efficiency. Its activities and sessions (i) nudge adolescents to make behavioural changes in the way energy is consumed in their household and (ii) promote sustainable energy goals in their communities.

Background & motivation: The fact that energy saved is energy generated has to be percolated in the daily life practices of young adults who will have a significant role to play in the future of energy usage. The need to bring the next generation of energy users into the conversation around responsible energy consumption is crucial, now more than ever. 

Over the years, in its efforts to promote awareness among young adults, CAG has conducted several capacity building programmes on renewable energy, energy efficiency and conservation for students in government and private schools across Chennai. 

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Image 1 & 2: Photographs from the capacity building session held at CHSS Maduvinkarai and CHSS MGR Nagar school in February 2020

Inspired by the appetite of young students and their interest in energy and related topics, the ‘Energy Club’ was conceived as an activity based club where students learn by doing. It was also envisioned as a club for the students by the students.

Objectives

  • To educate students on renewable energy, energy efficiency, energy conservation practices, among others
  • To encourage students, schools, and families to take an active role in energy saving practices.
  • To motivate students to use their learning to promote change in their schools and the larger community.
  • To initiate a collective approach to bringing about behavioural change with respect to energy usage.

Membership: In association with the ECC in the respective districts, the following schools have initiated energy clubs since June, 2021. On an average, each energy club has between 30 -35 student members:

  • Sevai Shanthi Matric Higher Secondary School, Trichy 
  • Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal Golden Jubilee School, Tirunelveli
  • Sri Krishna Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Arakkonam
  • St.Xaviers Higher Secondary School, Tirunelveli
  • Sankar Higher Secondary School, Tirunelveli

Structure of the club: Although CAG representatives design the activities for the energy club, the club is largely run by its student members

  • Coordinator - One teacher or a staff member for coordinating the efforts with CAG
  • Student  members - Students from class VI onwards  
  • Student Representatives (Chosen by the teacher coordinator):
    • Energy Coordinator - The student coordinates with the members of the club, teachers and CAG for operations of the club.
    • Secretary (Energy) - The student encourages and follows up with the members of the club on assigned activities of the club.

Commencement of the club: As the first step in the initiative, the schools were requested to assign a teacher or staff member to help with the launch and coordination for the club. The coordinating teacher/staff member was then requested to seek participation from interested students from class VI and above. From the list of interested participants, the teacher/staff coordinator subsequently chose two student representatives who would lead and engage with the members of the club for a period of an academic year. Once the list of members and student representatives were finalised, a virtual inauguration of the club was held to commence the operations of the club. 

After the inauguration, students were made familiar with the term ‘Energy Conservation’ -  the need for it and the role they can play in promoting conservation. E-posters on becoming an energy champion through behavioural changes, and electricity safety tips were distributed to each and every student member. A few examples are given below:

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Image 3 & 4: E-posters on energy conservation and passive cooling as shared with the students of energy clubs

Key activities & competitions: The club regularly convenes for sessions, activities and competitions. Detailed below are a few of them.

  • Sustainability Challenge video competition: Students of the energy club participated in a video competition conducted by Trust for Sustainable Living. As part of the competition, over 30 students across the five energy clubs submitted videos on the theme “The need for urgent climate action and driving the green revolution.”
  • Poster making competition: CAG organised an inter-club poster making competition on the topic ‘Energy conservation at home’ which saw an overwhelming participation with over 100 entries from students across the five clubs. At the end of the competition, seven winners were chosen. The students who secured the first three places received a cash prize of INR 500, INR 300, and INR 200, respectively. The other winners received certificates of merit in appreciation for their efforts. 

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Image 5, 6, 7 & 8: Photographs of the winning entries from the inter-club poster making competition

  • Home Energy Audit Exercise - Lighting Edition: Students across the energy clubs answered an online survey form which required them to take note of the various lighting appliances in their household (HH). This was a guided observational study which helped students in learning about the various lighting appliances and their energy consumption. On completion of the survey, each student received a customised report which presented the respective HH’s lighting energy consumption and provided energy conservation and energy efficiency solutions to promote energy and cost savings. Inter-club online sessions were held to enable students to understand the consumption levels of their peer 
  • International Student Exchange (virtual):  In an attempt to bring more young adults into the energy conversation, CAG in association with Alliance to Save Energy, USA conducted an  international virtual student interaction session with students from Tamil Nadu’s energy clubs and students from New Jersey’s Empowered schools. This exciting exchange saw the coming together of students from diverse backgrounds to understand their energy consumption behaviours and the geographic, economic and social factors that influence them.

With nearly a year of operation and several sessions, activities and competitions, the energy clubs have come a long way.

In the upcoming years, ECCs will focus on expanding the presence of energy clubs and launching long-term programmes that will keep the energy conversations brewing among young adults. 

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