SOURCE: Energy Coalition

October 18, 2007 15:45 ET

Energy Coalition Hosts Swedish Educational Ambassadors

IRVINE, CA--(Marketwire - October 18, 2007) - They're back!!! For the 7th year in a row, a task force of Swedish teachers has arrived in California to meet with their peers in San Francisco, Irvine and Santa Monica to continue the dialogue and exchange of ideas on strategies for energy efficiency education.

In 1993, the Energy Coalition launched its first Swedish energy efficiency education program in the city of Nacka. The Coalition's PEAK program, as it is known, teaches 4-7 grade students how to manage energy in their homes. It is now in 10 schools in Nacka, Sweden, having reached over 10,000 students.

"It is quite empowering to be here in California to see what is being done to educate young people about the importance of energy efficiency here in the US. We have so much to learn from each other," said Nacka Headmaster Bjorn Björn Söderkvist. "The Energy Coalition is more committed than ever to empowering teachers to include PEAK curriculum in their classrooms," said Energy Coalition Executive Director, John Phillips. "It is critical for the healthy energy future of California."

The Swedish educational ambassadors are joined by colleagues from the Chicago area where the PEAK program has also been introduced in 10 schools. "The Energy Coalition's PEAK program is truly re-defining energy education in our schools today," said Rachel Nalepa, Program Manager of PEAK for the Northern Illinois Energy Project.

The program is driven by the Coalition's overall goal for reducing energy use during periods of peak usage -- thus the program's name PEAK. The program teaches students how to manage energy use in their homes; the students in turn, educate their parents. They are taught to act as Home Energy Managers -- taking responsibility for lowering their family's energy use especially during critical peak use times.

A Legacy of Success

In 1977, Phillips, with the underwriting of The Fluor Corporation, The Irvine Company and the City of Laguna Beach, created the first Energy Classroom for students at the Top of the World school. Now -- 30 years later -- with the support of Southern California Edison, The Gas Company, San Diego Gas & Electric and PG&E, the Energy Coalition continues to introduce its energy education programs throughout California.

PEAK has been incorporated into the curriculum of 77 schools in southern California. The Coalition's PEAK partnership with the Irvine Unified School District dates back to 1999 -- reaching approximately 2,000 4th grade students a year at 22 elementary schools in Irvine. The School District recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the Coalition to expand the PEAK curriculum to include a more comprehensive energy efficiency and environmental education program.

In San Diego, a PEAK program that was launched last fall is now in 12 schools. In the term of the 3-year pilot phase over 7,500 students will be reached. In San Francisco, PEAK has been incorporated into the curriculum of 12 schools.

With the Swedish invasion this week, the exchange and the momentum continue. "The Swedes have been so successful at implementing PEAK into the Nacka sustainable development program that they have raised the bar even higher for California; we can now learn from them on sustainable development programs," said Phillips.

The Energy Coalition

The Energy Coalition is a non-profit 501(c) 3 corporation started in 1981. The Energy Coalition assists local city government, community businesses, and residents practice smart energy management for a healthy energy future.

For information on the PEAK program contact: Trisha Ortega tortega@energycoalition.org.

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