PHS Green Team taking action

PLATTSBURGH - Students at Plattsburgh High School are taking a stand, and it's one for the good of the environment and the pocketbook.

The PHS Green Team formed earlier this year after teacher Amy Sholtis and a group of students attended a global climate summit at The Wild Center in Tupper Lake.

"One of the first things we wanted to do was to form a green team, a group dedicated to the purpose of reducing our carbon footprint," explained Sholtis.

Not long after Sholtis issued the call for action, students came out in support of the initiative.

Adrienne Munger, a member of the senior class, was among the group that attended the summit, wanting to take action.

"We decided we really wanted to take some of the ideas from the summit and implement them into our school," said Munger.

Among the eco-minded measures - and largest potential money-savers for the school district - has been identifying "vampire circuits," said Sholtis.

"[Vampire circuits] are appliances that are left plugged in that still use electricity," she explained. "We've been using devices called Kill-A-Watts that measure the amount of energy taken from a circuit at any time."

Sholtis and the students have found and recorded appliances that consume large amounts of electricity even when the average person wouldn't think they'd consume anything at all.

"The most common one is a cell phone charger," said Sholtis. "If you leave that plugged in all day, even though your cell phone is charged, it continues to draw energy."

"Reducing or getting rid of vampire circuits you have is one way to save on an electric bill," said Munger. "Not only will it help the environment by using less energy, it'll help save money."

Senior Martha Gray stated she learned about a school district in Rochester which reportedly saved $600,000 by becoming more energy-efficient.

"While our school district isn't as large as the one in Rochester, we definitely thought that with the budgets cuts going on in the school district right now, we could get some school administrators' attention by showing them how much money they could save," said Gray.

The team has also begun recycling and composting efforts, which will also help reduce costs and help the planet, said Sholtis.

"These are all things that will save money for the school district," she said. "These kids are very dedicated to all of this. We're very very excited about that."

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