Livingston Parish school goes green by installing solar panels

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POSTED: Friday, September 27, 2013 - 3:00pm

UPDATED: Monday, September 30, 2013 - 11:30am

A Livingston Parish Elementary School is going green! North Live Oak Elementary now has solar panels to help conserve energy and to be an educational tool for students. This is all thanks to two teachers.

North Live Oak is the first school in it's parish to use solar panels, and teachers Jaime Griffin and Tonya Dean said they had no idea their idea would come to life, but this is just the beginning.

"Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could get solar panels at our school, thinking we could never accomplish such a goal, and we just kind of worked it out," Griffin said.

Griffin and Dean wanted to bring the topic of conservation into their curriculum, so they took a leap.

"It's something that everybody can do. Everybody can turn off the lights when they leave a room. Everyone can close the door of the refrigerator. Turn the water off when your brushing your teeth," Griffin said. "Just those kind of things, and it kind of evolved from there."

"We feel like our generation has not been conservative, and we've wasted a lot and not really understood it," Dean said. "We're hoping that we can make a difference in this generation and in these students to carry it through there lives."

The two teachers got together with Craig Page from Optimize Solar to get their project up and running.

"We had a couple of brainstorming sessions, and as we talked about how solar works and the benefits," Page said. "They started to realize that a lot of the simple methods and how solar works, they could use that in teaching."

The solar panels are installed right above the concessions room where students pass through daily. Page said these panels can be educational for everyone.

"There's a monitoring system that the students and teachers can see how much power's been generated," Page said. "They can calculate and subtract from the usage in their classrooms."

"A few of them have been like 'Hey, why do we have solar panels on our schools?' One of them said 'What are those big black things?' and another kid said 'Man, those are solar panels,'" Griffin said. "So they started having a conversation between themselves about about what solar energy is."

"When we see the students learning it and applying it everyday, we get excited," Dean said.

The teachers said the solar panels are just one part of their conservation curriculum. Students will learn about recycling and water conservation as well.

North Live Oak Elementary will be hosting a community luncheon Friday, October 4th to talk about their "Conserving, Preserving and Serving Project." It starts at 10:30 A.M.  

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