In August of 2009, Energy Works Michigan
offered grants to Michigan schools for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. The EARTH club (stands for
Environmentally Aware, Ready To Help) of West Bloomfield High School was very eager to take action.
Bloomfield Schools had already taken a great deal of energy efficiency measures, in part due to the work of Physics classes
at West Bloomfield High School who in 2003 did an energy audit of the high school building. Because of these energy
efficiency measures, WBHS qualified for and won one of the Renewable Energy Grants from Energy Works. Energy Works were
offering static 2 kilowatt systems, but the EARTH club wanted to make more of a splash, and create more "buzz" with
a "tracking" system--one that moved to follow the sun. The problem was that a tracking system, especially
one that was one and a half times larger than the static systems being offered would cost a whole lot more money.
December of 2009, members of the EARTH club executive board negotiated with Energy Works Michigan to get funding for their
ideal system, but this necessitated that the EARTH club get a seed grant from the Mel Barclay Energy Education Fund, and then
in addition, raise over $15,000 over the grant amount. This money was raised through many different mechanisms including:
- Fair Trade Coffee sales
- Abitibi Recycling for $ program
- Organic Bake Sale
- ChicoBag (reusable
grocery bags) sale
- Restaurant Fundraisers
- Earth Fair Dunk Tank
- WBHS Senior Class donations
The Engraved paver sale pulled in most of the money needed: in total over $17,000 was
raised in addition to the grants received. In total, over $45,000 in grants and components were amassed to construct the array.
on the array started in November of 2010, and the array was completed in February 2011.
videos were then created by staff and students to help community members make their own homes more energy efficient, which
is a necessary first step prior to adopting renewable energy. These videos can be seen on our homepage, at wireWB.org
. We continue to explore new ways to educate the students and community members of West Bloomfield about how to reduce their
energy use and adopt renewable energy.