National level campaign on energy conservation and renewable energy in Indian schools, aimed at building a network of Energy Ambassadors
Students are the best catalyst to bring about a change in the society. Building a new energy conscious generation by imparting education to school children can prove to be effective for a developing country like India in the long run. Training students to become ambassadors, termed as Urja Rakshaks, for energy conservation is the crux of this proposal.
Urja Wahini - the Energy Clubs, a National Mission is envisaged as an effort of Vijnana Bharati, to keep the momentum of the mass movement for an “Energy Self-Reliant India.” The main objective is to create energy awareness among students, teachers, and parents with the primary focus being the students in the age group of 11-14 years.
The project will be implemented in a phase-wise manner in the next 10 years. Phase 1 and Phase 2 are already completed in different parts of India where 2100 Energy Ambassadors are created in phase 1 and 4,800 in phase 2 with total energy saving of around 2,41,500 KWh achieved.
This promising model now needs to be scaled up. National Government of India has appreciated these efforts and is now supporting this initiative of Vijnana Bharati to start energy clubs all over the country.
What actions do you propose?
- Creating Urja Rakshaks (Energy Ambassadors) - a youth force for protecting our energy resources
- Green Star - Awarding ratings for energy efficient schools
- 1,00,000 Energy Ambassadors from all over the country
- Formulating Energy Policies for 1000 schools of the country for practicing energy efficiency and encouraging institutions to generate electricity through renewable energy for their own use
- Motivating students by awarding the title of “Energy Managers”
- Transforming schools into Energy Management Centre’s - hubs of knowledge and technology providing eco-friendly solutions
- Targeting to save 100 lakh units (100,00,000 KWh) of electricity
- Addressing the topic of utmost importance of Energy Conservation
- Launching a country-wide massive energy awareness campaign exclusively for school students
Who will take these actions?
School children, teachers and management of educational institutions are the key stakeholders in this nationwide campaign.
Vijnana Bharati is the implementing agency for this project. It is also being supported by the National Government of India along with various Sub-National Governments (also called as State Governments), institutions and many other non-profit organisations within the country.
Vijnana Bharati is a national movement dedicated to the integrated development of India through the intervention of Science, Engineering and Technology. Launched in 1991 at Nagpur by a group of thinkers and scientists, Vijnana Bharati has grown beyond the state boundaries and now has its active units all over the country and a few abroad. Eminent scientists, academicians, policy makers, and social workers are the torch bearers of this movement.
Vijnana Bharati works towards national self-reliance and a developed India. Towards this mission, Vijnana Bharati adopts, adapts and assimilates the best from everywhere and associates with the best of universities, R&D organizations and other movements.Taking cognizance of the Vijnana Bharati's contribution in the field of Science & Technology, Government of India (Prime Minister, Shri Manmohan Singh) awarded the movement with Nehru - Prize in the year 2007. Vijnana Bharati was also awarded by Government of India in recognition of the outstanding contributions in the field of science communication among masses.
Each energy club will be headed by two teachers nominated by the school. Teachers will enroll 100 students and conduct activity session for 2 hours every week. Teacher’s Training Camps (TTC) will be conducted in each state, where the teachers in charge will be given training, for conducting activities and experiments by experts working in this field. Most of the activities that would be carried out in this camp will then be carried out by teachers in their respective Energy Clubs.
Where will these actions be taken?
We have planned to implement this project in the following mentioned 21 states of the country out of 29, targeting to create 1,00,000 Energy Ambassadors (Urja Rakshaks) from 1,000 schools of the country.
- In North India (6 states) - Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir
- In South India (5 states) - Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Telangana
- In Central India (4 states) - Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh
- In East India (2 states) - West Bengal and Bihar
- In West India (1 state) - Maharashtra
- In North-east India (3 states) - Assam, Nagaland and Manipur
Schools registration process has already been started. 250 schools (i.e. 25,000 students) from South India, 220 schools (i.e. 22,000 students) from North India, 305 schools (i.e. 30,500 students) from Central India, 90 schools (i.e. 9,000 students) from East India, 90 schools (i.e. 9,000 students) from West India and 45 schools (i.e. 4,500 students) from North-east India are going to be selected based on the initial screening process for students. Hence, total 1,00,000 Energy Ambassadors will be enrolled based on their skills and interest.
How will these actions have a high impact in addressing climate change?
Energy saving has got critical importance in the climate mitigation policies. This programme aims to bring down:
a) Reliance on conventional fossil fuel - In India the total energy related Carbon Dioxide emission reached 1,830.93 in 2012 from 1,448.99 in 2008. The increasing demand for electricity in the country is already making way for more power generation plants that are based on coal. The role that can be played by institutions such as school is extremely important in this regard.
b) Improve energy efficiency - The role of Energy Ambassadors to spread awareness is also expected to contribute to promoting energy efficiency and energy conservation, thereby significantly reducing the pressure on the energy systems.
c) Encourage renewable energy generation - The Energy Ambassadors will play a critical role in addressing these apprehensions towards renewable energy development primarily at household level.
What are other key benefits?
The key benefits of the project are listed below:
1. Institutional development- This program will bring in one of the largest stakeholders in the society to the mission of energy conservation. The schools not only constitute a vital set of stakeholder institution but are also instrumental in developing and sharing knowledge.
2. Catalyzing Local innovation- Institutions becoming knowledge platform and energy management centres for the society will be an added advantage. These knowledge centres will contribute to local energy innovation and encourage interest of students in energy saving and renewable energy.
3. Enormous possibility of energy saving- India has the world's largest youth population, 356 million 10-24 year-olds. Energy Ambassadors are going to play a vital role in shaping country economy. Even if we can save 1KWh of electricity per day per person, then 1,00,000 Energy Ambassadors will be able to save 365 Million KWh of electricity per day and around 130 Billion KWh per year!
What are the proposal’s costs?
Since this programme covers a national level activity involving 1000 educational institutions, 2000 teaching staff and 1,00,000 students, the total budget is estimated to be around Rs 2,61,00,000/- (i.e. $ 4,08,004).
Around 50% of this budgeted amount will be raised by Vijnana Bharati by getting funding from various companies, individuals, organisations etc and seeking support for remaining 50% amount from the Government of India.
The time line for this project is from August 2015 to March 2018 (i.e. around 135 weeks).
Out of these 135 weeks, 45 weeks are spared for examinations and other holidays. Hence, we expect to get around 90 weeks for conducting various activities.
Various activities will be carried out in the schedule of energy club. These include:
- Urja Rakshaks - These are energy monitors of school. Few selected students every week will walk around in the school observing wastage of electricity, water & other natural resources & taking corrective actions for maintaining a green campus
- School Energy Policy (SEP) - Its objective is to bring awareness among students regarding energy policies & its implementation
- Product Assembly Training - This activity is specially designed for students to enhance their entrepreneurial skills and gain knowledge on assembling different energy efficient products as well as maintaining them
- School & Home Energy Audit - It will be carried out every month & more opportunities for energy savings will be followed to see the difference in electricity bills
- Energy Film Fest - A film festival screening different short films & documentaries on energy conservation, renewable energy, environment and climate change
- Activity Handbook - containing different activities, problem statements which should be solved by the students
- Guest lectures and workshops - Energy experts to interact with students and guide them
- Field trip - Field trips for schools students to the nearby project sites to get an on-field exposure and study them
- Competitions - Various competitions like drawing, painting, essay writing, project etc will be organised periodically
- National Students Energy Festival (NSEF) - An Energy Fair where students all over the country can come together participate in various activities, competitions, workshops etc
- Experiment kit - To give students hands-on experience & to understand various principles & working of renewable energy & energy efficiency technologies
 Energy Statistics Report 2014 published by Central Statistics Office of National Statistical Organisation functioning under the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, Government of India:
 Energy Information Administration, Department Of Energy:
 Urja Wahini Phase 1 and Phase 2 completion reports
 News of United Nations Population Fund’s (UNFPA) State of the World’s Population report published in The Hindu daily's Business Line supplement:
 Executive Summary of Power Sector in India published in January 2015, by Central Electricity Authority, Ministry of Power, Government of India.