‘Operation Energy’ new online resource for schools

‘Doc Energy’ and sidekick ‘Penny Monitor’ to battle evil nemesis ‘Sir Standby’

29th September 2011: Airtricity’s recently announced partnership with Eco-Schools has led to the development of an exciting new online resource, Operation Energy, launched this week by Environment Minister Alex Attwood. The Minister was joined at Stormont for the launch by Airtricity Managing Director Stephen Wheeler and Tidy NI CEO Ian Humphreys as well as Airtricity’s own superhero Doc Energy. They were joined by schoolchildren who have already signed-up for the Eco-Schools project in their quest to secure a prestigious Green Flag for their school and community.

Operation Energy is an exciting new education programme from Airtricity, Principal Sponsors of Eco-Schools, which is aimed at inspiring teachers, children and parents to become advocates for energy-use reduction, awareness and efficiency. The Operation Energy programme is a free online resource for children and teachers, packed with over 40 hours of activities, campaigns, games, lesson plans, videos and competitions to help schools on their Green Flag journey. The resource also includes a specially-dedicated zone for parents so that everyone in the family can help play their part in the ongoing quest to reduce energy use. The resource, including all download, lesson plans and games, is available online at www.operation-energy.com.

All the 60 different classroom activities support learning across the Northern Ireland curriculum, with lessons plans for Foundation years, KS1 and KS2. Lessons and activities around conserving energy, the sources of energy that power our homes and communities including renewables, and protecting the environment are all conveyed using specially-designed characters, Doc Energy and his helpful sidekick Penny Monitor. Together they encourage local children to join them in their battle against the Doc’s evil nemesis Sir Standby and his plans to waste more and more energy.

Stephen Wheeler, Managing Director of Airtricity, said the energy company is excited and proud to be involved in the project.

“We recently entered into a long-term partnership with Eco-Schools and Tidy NI to promote energy-use reduction, energy awareness and energy efficiency throughout schools across the country as the principal topic in this year’s Green Flag Eco-Schools programme. Already over 800 schools in Northern Ireland actively participate in this programme, with the ultimate goal of securing a coveted Green Flag for their school and community.

“At Airtricity we want more and more schools and communities to join with us and participate in the Eco-Schools programme. We believe that a change in attitude towards energy usage begins with children, at school and in the home. We have thought very hard about the content of the Operation Energy online resource and we are convinced, and determined, that children and teachers will engage with the site. There is a very practical benefit to schools in saving money in this tough economic climate, and energy conservation has a role to play in making budgets go further.”

Environment Minister Alex Attwood welcomed the initiative.

During a time when we are all conscious of conserving energy to save money, this initiative is really enabling young people to understand how a small effort on their part can bring about significant savings.”

“I am committed to making Northern Ireland a better place to live, work and invest. The Eco-Schools programme that my department has been sponsoring for the last 5 years, and to which we have just announced an additional £80,000 for this year, is enabling and teaching young people how to make this vision happen.”

“We welcome the additional resource that this sponsorship package by Airtricity is bringing to this programme and particularly how it is helping schools to promote sustainable development and to improve their energy efficiency through involving pupils in hands-on actions that can make a real difference.”

Ian Humphreys of Tidy NI, which operates Eco-Schools said, “Our partnership with Airtricity brings a wealth of relevant, practical and fun activities to the next generation, helping schools achieve the international Green Flag standard. Beyond this it is our desire to see the children using this experience to help influence their parents, families and friends to use energy wisely. Only by educating our children can we achieve a sustainable future.”