Interregional training-seminar for school Ecoadvisers on energy efficiency

On December 14, Friends of the Baltic NGO, SPARE experts and Ecocentrum Ltd with the support of Profine-RUS (JSC) and school № 579 organized and conducted a training-seminar for Saint-Petersburg and Leningrad region school Ecoadvisers.

Ecoadvisers are employees of schools (teachers or technicians), who will inform colleagues and students about easy environmental solutions that help to reduce their environmental impact. Ecoadvisers help the school administration to implement the environmental management of the school, showing how anyone can contribute to saving resources, improving the environment and to sustainable development. Most of Ecoadvisers are active SPARE teachers, skilled in climate/energy education/

Friends of the Baltic have trained more than 50 school ecosupporters in the framework of the international project Step to Ecosupport, but interest in this subject keeps growing, new teachers want to join the Ecoadvisers team, and those who already have such a status, require new knowledge.

The seminar opened with the speech of Sergey V. Melkishev, head of information and analytical Department of Center of energy efficiency. Sergei Valentinovich told about the Center's work with the public and with the professional community of power engineers and builders-engineers, about the dissemination of theory and practice methods of energy conservation through the media and about the potential energy savings in the municipal infrastructure and measures to improve their energy efficiency.

The introductory part of the training focused on the interrelation of climate change with the production and consumption of energy. Nowadays, the effects of climate change are observable in almost all regions of the planet. The international community has long recognized the fact of such change and the serious worsening of this process by human activities. The process of energy production from fossil fuels is associated with huge emissions of greenhouse gases; energy and industry are the most significant sources of such emissions.

The venue of the training was not picked by chance – it is the work place of an active ecosupporter and SPARE teachers, Victoria Gromova. At her school, teachers and students are involved in the implementation of environmental and energy solutions. The specialists of Profine-RUS (JSC) conducted a professional energy audit of the external structures of the building to identify the weak energy efficiency places (more about the process of this energy audit see here).

The results of the energy audit were presented at the training, where heat leaks through elements of the building were identified. Among the possible causes of heat loss through the translucent structures are the lack of welding quality and the lack of adjustable furniture elements. Expert of Profine-RUS (JSC) Roman Orlov said that the heat loss through windows is common, but it is a solvable problem. Partially this can be fixed with the adjustment of sash pressure, e.g. using fitting elements. In the case of the outer doors, the cause of heat loss may be the lack of insulation, the warm threshold and a clamping device (door closer). But the wall panels of the building have insufficient thermal protection too: when looking through a thermal imaging camera, the zone of high temperatures from heating devices that indicate poor insulation qualities of the walls is clearly visible from outside.

Another issue of Russian standard panel buildings of the eighties is that with higher relative humidity indoors or reduced outdoor temperature there is high likelihood of condensation both on the glass and on the elements of the window construction, sometimes with penetration into the mounting seam, leading to its gradual destruction. It is necessary to make regular monitoring of values of these parameters and in extreme cases to take action to eliminate the causes of condensation.

In Energy Efficient Building exhibition, which includes five information banners, a brochure with comments for the exhibition, training and demonstration set of energy-saving equipment for buildings (energycase), were presented simple technical methods for cost-effective and environmentally friendly energy use in buildings. Great interest of audience was caused by the slice profile of an energy efficient window provided by Profine-RUS (JSC). It is well demonstrated key methods of thermal insulation - airtight window, where air (or gas) medium is a heat insulator.

An important part of the workshop was an interactive training called Four Corners. The participants were divided into four groups, which were given the role of "teachers", "parents", "students" and "school administration". All were asked to find answers to the questions "What can be done to improve energy efficiency in schools?", "That this can only be done by your group?" and "which of the groups can you collaborate with to achieve the greatest effect?" It turned out that most participants see as the basis of success the cooperation of all groups, mutual assistance in the implementation of energy efficiency measures in school. "School administration" promised to create conditions for activity of teachers, students and parents, as well as to lobby for the interests of energy efficiency in the school at the highest levels, transferring the initiative from the bottom up. "Parents" expressed interest in participating in the discussion of measures to improve the efficiency of the school building (which is possible in the framework of the school Environmental Council, the basic tool of activities of eco-supporters), and "students" wanted to take part in competition of projects on climate and efficient use of resources and energy. "Teachers" willing to be conductors of ideas from students and parents to the school administration, and to take up the increase efficiency of energy use in its classes.

The participants was offered a training called "In the Elevator with the Director", whose purpose – to learn to clearly express their thoughts and be able to convince the interlocutor of the necessity of taking measures to improve the efficiency of the school building and to motivate him to personal action.

The seminar concluded with a certificate award ceremony to the participants, and presentation of materials of the Friends of the Baltic on energy efficiency, energy saving and climate change.