University of Aberdeen students have been trained to advise households and small businesses on how they can better manage their energy consumption, as part of a new and unique project.
The Climate Challenge Funded Carbon School is a comprehensive training and mentoring programme designed by Aberdeen University Student Association (AUSA) with the help of SCARF, the local Energy Saving Trust.
Students who took part in the project were trained in how to reduce household and business carbon footprints by educating them about energy matters, energy conservation methods as well as practical skills such as reading energy meters and calculating bills. They were also trained to conduct a small energy audit within an office setting.
“The project was launched in September, and since Freshers’ Week there has been much interest in the project which aims at giving students the know-how on carbon footprint reduction while equipping them with invaluable skills in the energy sector and sustainability matters”, said Lili Z Nagy the coordinator of the project.
Carbon School allows participants to put into practice what they have learned by pairing them up with local charities in need of advice. The students meet up with not-for-profit organisations to conduct a small energy audit focusing on behaviours in the office and give advice to staff members on how they could lower their carbon footprint whilst saving money on their energy bills.
Ms Nagy continued: “Our motto is Teaching Skills and Building Community, and it is a real pleasure to see the students learning new skills, developing their graduate attributes and boosting their employability whilst meeting new friends and giving back to the local community.”
Jay Chu, one of the Carbon School Agents said: “What is the most extraordinary aspect of the initiative is that it directly benefits both people and the environment. I truly love the fact that the Carbon School aims to help both the world and its people.”
The project is scheduled to run until March 2015 and is set to engage 100 students and around 50 charitable organisations in Aberdeen.
The first group of students graduated from Carbon School on Friday (13 December) and celebrated with a special low carbon Christmas Social.
“The awards ceremony on Friday commemorated the wonderful achievements of the first group of students who we have trained through Carbon School and who have been actively helping non-profit organisations.
“They are making a real difference and what better way to celebrate this than to have real low carbon Christmas Social organised for them?”, said Ms Nagy.
Members from across Aberdeen University’s green community came together at the SHIFT (Sustainable Healthy Innovative and Fair Transition) Social to round off the semester with the Carbon School Agents in a festive spirit. Attendees enjoyed a vegetarian buffet prepared by students, locally produced fruit wine, live music and an eco-quiz to test the students’ newly acquired knowledge. Eva Nohe, student President for Environment and Ethics and David Nicholson SCARF’s Skills Developer were present to award the certificates.