For decades, Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind’s (AIDB) trademark colors have been Pantone 187 Red and Pantone 287 Blue, yet the Institute is Going Green.
The movement began in late 2008 with Project Green, AIDB’s biodiesel public education, student training and internal production program. Fueled by several municipal, state and national agencies, Project Green recently received a $300,000 Department of Energy (DOE) award supported by Congressman Mike Rogers. Seed funding from Alabama Representative Steve Hurst (D-35); Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries; Coosa Valley Resource Conservation and Development Council; Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs and Appalachian Regional Commission has piloted the Project, with monies used towards preliminary site renovation, acquisition of production equipment and job creation.
With the capacity to create 55 gallons of biodiesel per day, DOE support offset renovation, provided two staffers and student work experience stipends while establishing Community Recycle Stations and free business Waste Vegetable Oil (WVO) pick-up.
“Students participate in all aspects of Project Green,” stated AIDB President Dr. Terry Graham. “Including WVO pick-up, student work experience components may include tours, presentations and public awareness campaigns along with actual biodiesel production which reinforces classroom chemistry and mathematics’ concepts.”
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The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) Energy Division has also supported AIDB to implement Project Green, offsetting the Employment Specialist position. ADECA staff also direct three AIDB Going Green State Energy Program awards – one to retrofit and replace T12 lighting with T8s and the two others to replace three antiquated energy-draining HVAC units—underwritten by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA).
“I think these lights are good for the Deaf community and Culture because those of us who don’t hear well rely on the light [for communication],” explained Alabama School for the Deaf (ASD) student Kaneesha Stallworth, during an ADECA site visit, where ASD, Alabama School for the Blind (ASB) and Helen Keller School of Alabama (HKS) students peddled their way to understanding how retrofits and replacements within 30 AIDB buildings will drive energy savings.
The light literally clicked on – and off – for ASB student Wes Baker.
A traditional light bulb and a more energy-efficient bulb — like those replaced — were positioned side-by-side to compare the energy to light and sustain each. Students took turns peddling a stationary bike connected to the board. Displayed on the apparatus was the question, “Which light bulb produces more light with less energy?” The more students pedaled, the longer the bulbs stayed on.
AIDB attempts to correlate all energy programs with the Alabama State Course of Study. The HVAC awards will replace units within ASD, ASB and HKS. Additionally, AIDB’s Nutrition Director states that 11 cafeteria appliances within AIDB carry the Energy Star designation; many dormitories utilize Energy Star washers, dryers and dishwashers. Too, through Work Experience Programs, all three K-12 units involve students in recycling paper, cans and boxes, strategically placing receptacles on campus. Efforts like these, and use of 30 percent recycled paper, play integral components to conserving energy and reducing natural resources’ consumption.
“These Awards will serve as excellent teaching tools,” continued Dr. Graham. “As Helen Keller once said, ‘No one has the right to consume happiness without producing it.’ The same can be said of energy.”
Please enjoy reading Fuels Fix Magazine and Clean Cities Now, the official newsletter of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities program. The story on the AIDB program begins on Page 11 in Fuel Fix and on Page 10 in Clean Cities.