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EU Education programme trains "energy guardians" to stop waste

EU Education programme trains "energy guardians" to stop waste
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Just like maths, languages and other subjects at school, energy saving can be taught and learned. In Hungary so called "junior energy guardians" are on a mission to stop energy waste.

At the school of Szolnok, students are learning about "smart meters". The training is part of the so called "energy@school" programme supported by the EU's Cohesion policy.

"I would like to protect the Earth as much as possible because we hear a lot of bad news on TV, in many cities there is a lot of waste and there is "smog" too. So if I can help, I do it with pleasure!" Szilvia Zsiros, Junior Energy Guardian

Energy@school is active in 41 schools across several central European countries. The total budget of the programme is just over 2.5 million euros. 2.1 million of that is financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)

While the project in Szolnok has only just started, in Újszilvás it has already been running for two years. The energy and heating costs of the school were the local authority's main expense.

But following an audit, which was automatically included in the Energy@school programme, the council agreed to have double glazing installed. It is estimated the investment will reduce the school's energy consumption by about 30 percent.

Lili Lénart is a Junior Energy Guardian at the school.

"In general, we are the ones who make sure that the students respect the rules. For example, that the windows are opened several times, more often but for short periods, and if the students forget to turn off the tap, then we are the ones who turn it off," she says.

But the programme is much more than just specific measures and theoretical courses. It's also about raising awareness. Two teachers at the school, so called "energy guardian seniors", are in charge of spreading the message.

"It is an important part of their education, bringing them here to the solar park to explain to them how it works and what role they must play in the life of our community. We do this so they can pass on this information to their families and other children," says teacher and Senior Energy Guardian, Szilvia Dömök.

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