May 29, 2013
Ryan Scott Ottney
PDT Staff Writer
Students at Notre Dame Elementary spent their final weeks of the school year researching renewable resources and presented their energy findings to the city of Portsmouth on Tuesday.
“They explained to (Portsmouth Mayor David Malone) what renewable resources were, as opposed to fossil fuels. One of the children, Andrew Braun, told him that fossil fuels is like coal and once you dig it out of the mountain it’s gone, but renewable you can use over and over again,” said second grade teacher Wanda Dengel.
Dengel’s class was divided into four research teams — geothermal, hydro-electric, solar, and wind.
“When they researched these different forms of energies, they were trying to figure out whether or not these would be feasible for our area, which ones would be better than others, and what might the costs be. After each group had given their report to the rest of the class, then they thought probably solar and wind might be better suited for our community,” Dengel said.
Then the class did more research on the cost of solar panels and wind turbines. Dengel said they were surprised to find turbines and panels at Wal-Mart.
“They were excited to tell the mayor that you could buy three solar panels at about $600 a piece that would produce the same wattage as one panel that might be $400 more. They did the same thing with the wind turbines,” Dengel said.
Students also talked about the possibility of a green roof. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, “A green roof, or rooftop garden, is a vegetative layer grown on a rooftop. Green roofs provide shade and remove heat from the air through evapotranspiration, reducing temperatures of the roof surface and the surrounding air. On hot summer days, the surface temperature of a green roof can be cooler than the air temperature, whereas the surface of a conventional rooftop can be up to 90-degrees warmer.”
Dengel said the mayor told them the city has been looking for alternative energy ideas, and admitted that he liked the green roof concept very much. But given the current condition of their city building, none were a possibility right now.
“He did tell (students) that discussion has centered around the green roof and solar panels, and that the city was looking at both of those. But they are not in any position at this point to move forward,” she said.
After visiting with the mayor to share their ideas, the students were treated to a special tour of the city offices — including the treasurer’s office, municipal court, city council chambers, engineer’s office and the police department. Dengel said they were very excited to see the police chief’s office and the police interrogation room.
Mayor Malone was not available on Wednesday to discuss his visit with Notre Dame Elementary students.
Ryan Scott Ottney may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Ryan on Twitter @PDTwriter.