Idle-Free Schools Campaigns

Idle-free measuring campaigns for Vermont schools

An exciting opportunity to improve quality of life in the school community and beyond!

 

Vermont Idle-Free Schools, thanks to grants from the High Meadows Fund and the Vermont Community Foundation, will once again work with school administrators, teachers, students and parents/PTOs at up to seven preselected Vermont middle and high schools in the 2015-16 school year to conduct student-led vehicle idling observation and measuring campaigns - to reduce idling on school grounds.

 

2014-15 Campaigns: Last year, six participating schools combined to reduce idling by 32%!

 

2015-16 Idle-Free Schools Campaigns

FINAL RESULTS: FIVE SCHOOLS COMPLETING STUDY COMBINED TO REDUCE IDLING BY 46.4%!

(updated 10/14/16)

SHELBURNE COMMUNITY SCHOOL, Shelburne

Co-leaders/teachers: Lisa Phelps, Science; Peg Rosenau, Advisor

Students: Winton team 8th grade science class and Environmental Club

 

Step 1: introductory sessions conducted 9/16 & 10/7

Step 2: initial data collection conducted for five days at school afternoon dismissal on 10/14, 10/15, 10/16, 10/21, 10/28

Average temperature: 53º

Total vehicles observed: 450*; total vehicles idling: 90* (20%); total minutes of idling: 1,180 = 19.7 hours

Amount of fuel consumed: 8.4 gal/five days / 1.7 gal/per day average

Amount of fuel consumed annually (est.) - based on 180 day school year: 306 gal (263 gal relative to # of vehicles observed, initial vs final)

Amount of CO2 emissions annually (est.) - based on 180 day school year: 6,102 lb

Step 3: school announces idle-free campaign (Dec.-Jan.): Story published in Burlington Free Press. Story published in Shelburne News.

Step 4: driver contact event on 3/14 & 3/16 IMAGE 1 IMAGE 2 IMAGE 3 IMAGE 4 IMAGE 5 IMAGE 6  SCS March Newsletter

Step 5: final data collection conducted for four days at school afternoon dismissal on 4/27, 4/28, 4/29, 5/3

Average temperature: 50º

Total vehicles observed: 387; total vehicles idling: 38 (9.9%); total minutes of idling: 213 = 3.55 hours

Amount of fuel consumed: 1.52 gal/four days / .38 gal/per day average

Amount of fuel consumed annually (est.) - based on 180 day school year: 68.4 gal (195 gal reduction)

Amount of CO2 emissions annually (est.) - based on 180 day school year: 1,368 lb

BEFORE & AFTER IDLING DIFFERENCE: 79% REDUCTION1

*Estimated. Two pick up areas monitored. 8th grade science class and Environmental Club split observation/measuring time. A sixth day of observations was eliminated due to a

number of drivers shutting off engines upon realizing idling data was being conducted.

LYNDON TOWN SCHOOL, Lyndonville

Leader/teacher: Travis Courser, Science

Students: 8th grade science class

 

Step 1: introductory session conducted 9/21

Step 2: initial data collection conducted for four days at school afternoon dismissal on 10/26, 10/27, 10/28, 10/29

Average temperature: 47 degrees

Total vehicles observed: 70; total vehicles idling: 36 (51%); total minutes of idling: 415 = 7 hours

Amount of fuel consumed: 3.01 gal/four days / 0.75 gal/per day average

Amount of fuel consumed annually (est.) - based on 180 day school year: 135 gal (166 gal relative to # of vehicles observed, initial vs final)

Amount of CO2 emissions annually (est.) - based on 180 day school year: 2,700 lb

Step 3: school announces idle-free campaign (Dec.-Jan.): letter, pledge form to parents; LTS Middle School Newsletter (pg. 5)

Step 4: driver contact event on 3/22 & 3/24 IMAGE1 IMAGE2 IMAGE3

4/15: LTS MAGIC 97.7 RADIO INTERVIEW ABOUT CAMPAIGN-AUDIO    IMAGE FROM INTERVIEW

Step 5: final data collection conducted for three days at school afternoon dismissal on 5/17, 5/18, 5/19

Average temperature: 59 degrees

Total vehicles observed: 86; total vehicles idling: 18 (21%); total minutes of idling: 98 = 1.6 hours

Amount of fuel consumed: 1.15 gal/three days / 0.38 gal/per day average

Amount of fuel consumed annually (est.) - based on 180 day school year: 69 gal (97 gal reduction)

Amount of CO2 emissions annually (est.) - based on 180 day school year: 1,380 lb

BEFORE & AFTER IDLING DIFFERENCE: 69% REDUCTION1

HUNT MIDDLE SCHOOL, Burlington

Leader/teacher: Rebecca Reese, After School Program Director, and Michael Fasy, Paraeducator

Students: 7th grade Environmental Club

 

Step 1: introductory session conducted 9/22

Step 2: initial data collection conducted for four days at school afternoon dismissal on 10/6, 10/8, 10/13, 10/15

Average temperature: 63 degrees

Total vehicles observed: 92; total vehicles idling: 26 (28%); total minutes of idling: 73 = 1.22 hours

Amount of fuel consumed: .525 gal/four days / 0.13 gal/per day average

Amount of fuel consumed annually (est.) - based on 180 day school year: 23.6 gal (20.8 gal relative to # of vehicles observed, initial vs final)

Amount of CO2 emissions annually (est.) - based on 180 day school year: 472 lb

Step 3: school announces idle-free campaign (Dec.-Jan.): campaign publicized - pg. 2 in HMS December Newsletter

Step 4: driver contact event on 4/4-8 week IMAGE1 IMAGE2 IMAGE3 IMAGE4

Step 5: final data collection conducted for four days at school afternoon dismissal on 5/17, 5/18, 5/23, 5/24

Average temperature: 73 degrees

Total vehicles observed: 81; total vehicles idling: 10 (12%); total minutes of idling: 66 = 1.1 hours

Amount of fuel consumed: .473 gal/four days / 0.12 gal/per day average

Amount of fuel consumed annually (est.) - based on 180 day school year: 21.3 gal (0.5 gal increase)

Amount of CO2 emissions annually (est.) - based on 180 day school year: 426 lb

BEFORE & AFTER IDLING DIFFERENCE: 2% INCREASE1

NOTE: Initial findings very minimal amount of idling. Final findings showing slight increase can be due to: A. temperature in 70s which can result in engines running for air

conditioning; B. number of vehicles idling decreased from 28% in initial to 12% in final indicating skewing of results due to prolonged idling by a few vehicles (to run air

conditioning?). Final findings still reflect a minimal amount of idling.

MAIN STREET MIDDLE SCHOOL, Montpelier

Co-leaders/teachers: Amy Kimball, Math and science; Don Taylor, Language arts and social studies

Students: 7th & 8th grade Team Summit Green Team

 

Step 1: introductory session conducted 10/5

Step 2: initial data collection conducted for five days at school afternoon dismissal on 1019, 10/20, 10/21, 10/22,10/23

Average temperature: 49.4º

Total vehicles observed: 108; total vehicles idling: 61 (58%); total minutes of idling: 295 = 4.9 hours

Amount of fuel consumed: 2.11 gal/five days / 0.46 gal/per day average

Amount of fuel consumed annually (est.) - based on 180 day school year: 75.9 gal (42.9 gal relative to # of vehicles observed, initial vs final)

Amount of CO2 emissions annually (est.) - based on 180 day school year: 1,517 lb

Step 3: school announces idle-free campaign (Dec.-Jan.): students presented data and next steps at school assembly 12/23/15; flyer

sent home to parents and to school staff

Step 4: driver contact event on 3/28, 3/29, 3/30 IMAGE 1 IMAGE 2 IMAGE 3 IMAGE 4; Parent conference 4/1 IMAGE

Step 5: final data collection conducted for four days at school afternoon dismissal on 4/11, 412, 4/13, 4/14

Average temperature: 43.5º

Total vehicles observed: 61; total vehicles idling: 22 (36%); total minutes of idling: 89 = 1.5 hours

Amount of fuel consumed: 0.64 gal/four days / 0.16 gal/per day average

Amount of fuel consumed annually (est.) - based on 180 day school year: 28.8 gal (14 gal reduction)

Amount of CO2 emissions annually (est.) - based on 180 day school year: 576 lb

BEFORE & AFTER IDLING DIFFERENCE: 46% REDUCTION1

The Tarrant Institute for Innovative Education @ University of Vermont created this video of the Shelburne Community School Idle-Free team in action as it conducted a driver contact event in March 2016 from their 2015-16 campaign.

Lyndon Town School Idle-Free Schools campaign interview on Magic 97.7 Lyndonville, VT, April 15, 2016

STOWE MIDDLE SCHOOL, Stowe

Leader/teacher: Ann Ndione, Science

Students: 7th & 8th grade Green Team

 

Step 1: introductory session conducted 10/8

Step 2: initial data collection conducted for four days at school afternoon dismissal on 10/15, 10/16, 10/19, 10/20

Average temperature: 45º

Total vehicles observed: 79; total vehicles idling: 46 (58%); total minutes of idling: 212* = 3.53* hours

Amount of fuel consumed: 1.52 gal/four days / 0.38 gal/par day average

Amount of fuel consumed annually (est.) - based on 180 day school year: 68.37 gal (56.3 gal relative to # of vehicles observed, initial vs final)

Amount of CO2 emissions annually (est.) - based on 180 day school year: 1,367 lb

Step 3: school announces idle-free campaign (Dec.-Jan.): school idling information - pg. 3 in Dec. 2015 issue of SMS Raider Review

Step 4: driver contact event on 4/12 & 4/13 IMAGE 1 IMAGE 2

Step 5: final data collection conducted for four days at school afternoon dismissal on 5/17, 5/18, 5/19, 5/23

Average temperature: 61º

Total vehicles observed: 65; total vehicles idling: 13 (21%); total minutes of idling: 104 = 1.73 hours

Amount of fuel consumed: 0.75 gal/four days / 0.19 gal/par day average

Amount of fuel consumed annually (est.) - based on 180 day school year: 33.5 gal (22.8 gal reduction)

Amount of CO2 emissions annually (est.) - based on 180 day school year: 670.7 lb

BEFORE & AFTER IDLING DIFFERENCE: 40% REDUCTION1

*Time is estimated as students were not able to stay until the last cars left - believed to be a low estimate. Also, once parents noticed kids collecting data (even though they told

adults nothing specific) many turned off their cars.

 

1 calculation based on reduction (or increase) in fuel consumed relative to number of vehicles observed - best overall formula based on variations in number of vehicles in initial vs final measurements. Based on this calculation, the five schools completing the study combined to reduce idling by 46.4%. Over a 180 day school year, this potentially equates to a fuel consumption reduction of 328.3 gallons and a C02 emissions reduction of 6,566 pounds. Although unmeasurable, there is also a broadening impact beyond the schools as hundreds of drivers were shown the benefits of idling reduction.

 

NOTE: Amount of fuel consumed based on passenger vehicle — car/SUV/pickup truck — idling consumption of 0.43 gal/hr. Amount of CO2 emitted based on one gallon of fuel consumed equaling 20 pounds of CO2 emitted (gasoline - 19.64 pounds; diesel - 22.38 pounds)

Why idle-free schools campaigns?

 

The problems: There are idling “hot spots” at many schools, for instance when parents pick up students in afternoon pick up areas. According to David Grass, PhD, Environmental Health Surveillance Chief of the Vermont Department of Health, "Exhaust from idling vehicles is a common asthma trigger at schools. By limiting exposure to tailpipe emissions, schools can help reduce their students’ risk of developing asthma and decrease the severity of symptoms among students who already have the disease."

 

A University of Vermont Transportation Research Center 2014 passenger vehicle idling study estimates that Vermonter's idle their vehicles on a discretionary basis (while not in traffic) for 9.6 million hours annually, emitting 36,500 metric tons of CO2e and consuming more than 4 million gallons of fuel.

 

The solution: We will improve health and lessen vehicle emissions in school communities by working with participating schools' science, math, STEM, health, and environmental teachers, and school environmental clubs, to show students how to conduct an idle-free campaign. Students will learn organizational, analytical and communication skills as they perform data analysis, be empowered by showing drivers the significant benefits in shutting off engines when parked, and take pride in making a positive difference in their school community.

 

These measuring campaigns are designed for all middle and high schools, regardless of whether or not a supervisory union or school district has an official no-idling guideline such as a policy, procedure, handbook rule. If a school does not have a guideline, findings from the study can lead to one, but that is optional. If a school does have one, a study can determine the effectiveness of the guideline.

 

Five step process and timeline

 

Step 1: in Sept. and early Oct., we conduct initial training session in the classroom, including provision of campaign materials.

Step 2: in Oct., students unobtrusively conduct four to five-day initial data collection of idling vehicles utilizing note-taking and timing devices. Submit findings by email within two weeks to Wayne Michaud in this format.

OPTIONAL: supplemental data collection utilizing a school's CO2 gas sensor and compatible interface

Step 3: in Nov. to Dec., school announces support for idle-free campaign in school community, taking steps that include installing new no idling signs (provided by project), notice in school newsletter and on website, and optionally letter and pledge to parents and delivery companies. See "For school administrators" below for support resources.

Step 4: in mid to late Mar., students conduct two-three day driver contact event, reaching out to idling drivers with information handout and idle-free window decal, asking them to take no-idling pledge.

Step 5: in late Apr. to mid May, students unobtrusively conduct four to five-day final data collection of idling to evaluate effects of their educational efforts. Submit findings by email within two weeks to Wayne Michaud in this format.

Recommended: schools without district no-idling guideline (board approved policy, administrative procedure, or handbook rule) adopt one, based on study findings.

 

NOTE: See "For campaigners" below for documents explaining how to conduct Steps 2, 4, and 5.

Idle-Free Schools Campaign Toolkit

 

Teachers at each participating school receive a comprehensive toolkit (also downloadable here) as well as campaign handout materials.

Schools are also given two 15"x21" reflective aluminum no-idling signs.

EPA Region 8 Idle Free Schools VIDEO

Basic guideline for our idling study & measuring school campaigns!