Congratulations to the Wylie Independent School District for completing their first Cool Choices sustainability engagement program! Wylie ISD is a public school district northeast of Dallas that serves more than 15,800 students from Wylie, Texas and neighboring communities. Over 300 staff across 23 schools and administrative buildings participated in the month-long Cool Choices program in April.
Wylie Sustainability Engagement Program Customization
Wylie customized their Cool Choices sustainability engagement program to include elements of their “The Wylie Way” program, a nationally-recognized, research-based values and character education program. Some customized actions aimed to increase attention to Earth Day events and the district-wide energy challenge program. Other actions focused on reducing waste in classrooms and at home.
Wylie Cool Choices Program Outcomes
There was over a 15% voluntary participation rate among Wylie ISD staff, which is outstanding compared to participation rates in similar programs in the public sector. This widespread enthusiasm from participants helped boost the success of the program.
Over the course of the program, participants reported taking 12,615 total actions! Most notably, more than 140 staff reported removing energy-using items from their classrooms. Items included:
- 37 coffee pots
- 25 mini fridges
- 22 microwaves
- 11 lamps
- 11 space heaters
- 8 fans
- 5 toasters
- 2 printers
- 35 miscellaneous (such as scent warmers, an amplifier, a fog machine, and more!)
Altogether, unplugging these appliances saved almost 10,000 Kilowatt hours in electricity! For comparison, in 2016, the average annual electricity consumption for a U.S. residential utility customer was 10,766 Kilowatt hours. That’s a huge sustainability win! Not only is Wylie ISD saving money on electricity, they are helping the planet too. And program participants will be able to not only apply the energy and resource savings strategies from the Cool Choices program at work, but also to increase savings at home as well.
Sustainability as a Shared Value
A key objective of the Cool Choices sustainability engagement program is to increase conversations around sustainability and to help people realize that sustainability is a shared value. In a pre-program survey, less than 40% of Wylie ISD respondents thought sustainability was important to their friends and co-workers. By the end of the program, more than 70% were agreeing (or strongly agreeing) that their co-workers and friends thought sustainability was important. That’s huge shift in perspective! And it matters. People are much more likely to act on an issue when they feel their peers also support that issue. And on the note of getting involved, twenty-five respondents indicated an interest in getting involved in other sustainability efforts at Wylie.
“Cool Choices was a fun, positive way for our staff to get excited about sustainability and learn how to make sustainability part of their work and life,” says Marcia Coker, Facilities Manager at Wylie ISD. “We have green team members at most of our campuses and we are excited that more people want to get involved in these efforts.”
If you’re a school district looking to implement a similar program like Wylie’s, please contact us to learn more on how to get started. Cool Choices programs accelerate sustainability efforts for schools, businesses, and whole communities via our innovation online platform.
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