Our future lies in the hands of our children, and with the limited budgets that most schools have (especially in areas of the world that are barely able to support the basics in their school systems), reducing the schools' energy costs so that more money can go toward the actual education experience might go a long way toward a brighter future for us all.
In the first project of its kind in Croatia, the "Energy independent school" crowdfunding project is a joint effort by local community members, an energy cooperative, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP Croatia), to raise money for an elementary school to install a solar PV plant and to replace its lighting system with an energy efficient one.
The primary school Ostrog, in the community of Kaštel Lukšić in Croatia, is known for its student-maintained botanical garden, as well as for their environmental focus, and it is hoped that by becoming energy independent, this school can serve as a model of sustainability for other Croatian schools.
An energy audit of the school was conducted by the Energy Cooperative of Kaštela, and the results of that audit suggested that the two most cost-effective methods that the school could take toward energy independence were installing a solar PV plant on the school's roof, and replacing the existing lighting with an energy efficient version. Other suggestions that came out of the energy audit were increasing the insulation of the walls and the roof, and the use of biomass instead of fuel oil for heating.
The final size of the solar array will depend on the success of the crowdfunding campaign (which will also receive matching funds of one and a half dollar for every dollar donated, from UNDP), and if the goal of raising the full $10,000 is not met (which is considered the amount needed for the minimum cost-effective solar plant possible), any funds raised will instead be put toward energy efficient lighting in part or all of the school.
If you'd like to support this school's efforts toward energy independence, the crowdfunding campaign for Ostrog is live at Indiegogo until January 30th.