Middle School Science Teacher
Students at Yeshivat Noam are getting firsthand experience with alternative energy as the school goes green. The Amberjack Solar Energy Company of Oakland, NJ, is currently installing 1,512 solar panels on the roofs of the two school buildings. Yeshivat Noam is the first yeshiva day school in Bergen County to make the switch to solar energy.
The Finance Committee and other parent and community members have been working on this project since 2011. In a mutually beneficial arrangement, Amberjack installed the system at no charge to the school. Yeshivat Noam will buy power generated by Amberjack, which financed the system at overall rates that are lower than the school pays to the local energy company. Currently, the Yeshivat Noam campus requires over 800,000 kilowatt hours (kwh) of energy per year. The solar panels are projected to produce about 400,000 kwh, or half of the current needs, at a savings of about $30,000 to the school budget each year.
“It’s a win-win,” says Principal Rabbi Chaim Hagler. “The switch to solar energy not only makes sense financially and environmentally, but it also provides tremendous learning opportunities for our students.”
In September, Aliza Wasserman, Program Director of Energy and Environment for the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (a bipartisan think-tank), spoke to 3rd, 4th, and 8th graders about the effects of climate change. She shared her excitement that Yeshivat Noam is taking a leading role in renewable energy use. Ms. Wasserman also gave the 8th grade a gift of six solar panel-motorized toys to begin their investigation of solar energy use.
The 8th grade science curriculum focuses on how energy flows through living and non-living systems. Throughout the year, students will learn how solar energy works and will be able to monitor the energy production from the solar panels and their impact on the environment. This information will be broadcasted and updated every 15 minutes on the large video monitors in both the Elementary and Middle School lobbies.
“Collecting data in real time is a wonderful project-based learning opportunity,” says MS Assistant Principal Becky Troodler. As students analyze the data, they will become educated consumers enhancing the decisions they will make as future leaders of our community.
By Barbara Sehgal,