NGRID Fall e-newsletter
Spring 2011

Your Sustainable Energy

Spring Into Energy Efficiency

Spring cleaning is not only a chance to tidy up the house, it’s also a great time to make your home more energy efficient. Here are a few tips for springtime energy savings.

Dust and clean in new places

  • Clean the dust and dirt from light bulbs and lighting fixtures. Make sure they’re turned off first. Clean bulbs and fixtures run cooler and use less electricity.

  • While you’re at it, replace incandescent bulbs with energy-saving compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs). Compact fluorescents cost a little more but they use 75 percent less electricity and last up to 10 times longer. CFLs also produce less heat so you can save on air conditioning costs when the weather gets warmer.

  • Vacuum around the bottom of your refrigerator and clear the intake vent. Then unplug the refrigerator, move it away from the wall and clean the coils in back. If it’s really dirty, use soap and water but don’t put the plug in until everything is dry. This will make the refrigerator run more efficiently and use less electricity.

  • Clean out the exhaust hose at the back of your clothes dryer. First disconnect the hose from the wall and then vacuum out the lint and dust. It’s also a good idea to check the vent on the outside of the house and clear that out if necessary.

  • Computers, CD/DVD players and televisions will run more efficiently when clean, so dust them thoroughly. These appliances use electricity even when they’re not turned on so you can save energy by plugging them into a power strip and flipping the “off” switch when not in use. This can save up to 50 percent of their electricity usage.

  • Using a mixture of vinegar and water, clean the inside of your dishwasher, including the racks and door. By doing this, you’ll be saving energy and water. Make sure to unplug the unit or switch off the power before you clean.

Put up a clothes line
Use the warmth of the sun instead of electricity to dry your clothes. For the maximum amount of sunlight, run the line north and south. It’s important to make sure the clothes line extends far enough to hold your laundry but not it’s so long that it will sag in the middle. Remember, the clothes are wet when they’re hanging.

Set up a compost bin
You can recycle yard waste and certain food scraps by composting in your backyard. Compost bins are inexpensive, easy to set up and reduce the amount of trash that needs to be hauled off to a landfill. Plus, the decomposed materials can be used as a nutritious supplement for your garden, lawn and house plants. For more information about composting, see

Learn more energy-saving tips by visiting Energy efficiency world and find out about safety, the environment, and ethics by visiting our home page at



Teamwork—A Rewarding Way to Get Things Done!


Energy Efficiency

Change of Seasons Presents Safety Issues

The whole is greater than the sum of the parts. You’ve probably heard this expression many times but what does it really mean? And how does it apply to teamwork and cooperation?

It’s really pretty simple. We can accomplish more and have greater success by working together. This applies to any type of group activity, whether it’s a school play, a basketball team or an after-school club. Each member of the team has something unique to contribute and the group can’t operate effectively unless everyone does his or her job.

There are many factors that make for a successful group experience. Here are just a few of them:

  • Leadership: An effective leader, who sets a good example for others, is one of the most important parts of a team. The leader creates a positive environment and makes the activity fun. The leader should also know how to create roles for team members and show appreciation for everyone in the group.

  • Goals: Team members should create and agree upon goals. These goals should be communicated clearly by the leader so that everyone is on “the same page.”

  • Establishing roles: Not everyone can be the star of the show, the quarterback or the lead singer. Someone has to work “behind the scenes” in order for the team to be successful. These roles are just as important as any other. So it’s essential that each individual contribution is appreciated and recognized.

  • Team spirit: Successful teams openly support each other, creating an atmosphere of fun, appreciation and collaboration. Whether it’s a high five, a few encouraging words or a pat on the back, everyone likes to be recognized as an important part of the team.

It takes time and effort to put a team or group together, have it run smoothly and work toward a common goal. And although there are always some bumps in the road along the way, the rewards are great. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of working hard with your classmates, achieving your goals and then celebrating afterward.

Together. It’s a lot more fun that way.

Visit Ethics Explorer for lessons and activities on ethics and visit our homepage at



Springtime is finally here and the weather is nice, so we’re spending more and more time outdoors. It’s also a time to be careful and aware of potential safety issues.

Downed power lines
Winter storms often cause downed power lines and damaged trees that can pull down these lines, so keep an eye out for possible hazards. Here in the Northeast, April and May usually include periods of heavy rain that can also damage trees and power lines.

The important things to remember are:

  • Consider all downed wires to be “live” and dangerous. This includes telephone and cable TV lines. Although they may not be energized, these lines might be in contact with “live” electric wires that are out of view.
  • Do not touch downed power lines or anything touching these lines. Don’t walk underneath downed wires.
  • Do not climb or play in trees that are close to power lines.
  • Even if you don’t see any power lines, be aware that fallen tree limbs or debris may hide an electrical hazard.
  • If you see a downed power line, move everyone away from the area and call 1-800-465-1212.

Gas safety
Gas leaks are very rare but, if your home uses natural gas, it is important to have an annual safety inspection of inside piping and meters. Call 1-800-732-3400 to schedule an inspection.

It’s also a good idea to install carbon-monoxide detectors in the home and, if you already have them, spring is a great time to check the batteries.

Make sure the vents and exhaust ducts of your appliances are not blocked. This includes water heaters, gas stoves and clothes dryers.

Call before you dig
Spring is a time for planting, cleaning up the yard, putting up fences, and installing decks and patios. At least two days before you start digging, call 811 to check for underground gas lines, electric power lines, water pipes and telephone lines. Some of them can be just a few feet under the surface.

By calling ahead, you can avoid injury, property damage and service interruptions for your whole neighborhood. Even a small dent or scrape can cause damage, so it’s best to be cautious with any type of digging.

Do you know what to do in a power outage? What about a lightning strike? Visit Electric and Natural Gas Safety World to get everything you need to teach students how to react to these life-threatening emergencies and visit our homepage at


Electrical & Natural Gas Safety

Sustainability Starts with You-Celebrate Earth Day

Want to be a part of the largest public event in the world? Then help celebrate Earth Day on April 22 and join more than 1 billion others who are rallying for a healthy, sustainable environment. What do we mean by sustainable? A sustainable world includes energy conservation, recycling, environmental awareness and clean energy.

Earth Day was founded in 1970 by Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin. Outraged at the massive environmental damage caused by a large oil spill in California, he organized a movement to encourage awareness about air and water pollution. He put together a staff of 85 people to promote this cause.

Today, the Earth Day Network, based in Washington, D.C., coordinates activities in 192 countries around the world. Its Global Advisory Committee includes a few folks you may have heard of: actor Leonardo DiCaprio, Shaquille O’Neal of the Boston Celtics and folksinger Pete Seeger.

In the U.S., the Earth Day Network assists more than 30,000 teachers, coordinating thousands of local activities throughout the year. Although environmental problems may seem overwhelming, the solution starts on a small scale: in your home, in your school and in your community.

What can you do? First, it’s important to learn all you can about saving energy and protecting the environment. Read newspaper stories and Web sites that explain these issues. Talk to your friends and family, and discuss these topics in class.

Then—with the help of your fellow teachers, family members and community leaders—do what you can to help. It can be something small, like recycling a plastic bottle or riding a bike to school. Or you can get involved with something bigger, like helping to organize an environmental club or event at school. Saving the Earth is too big a job for one person or even one city. But if everybody pitches in, we can all make a big difference.

For more information on solar power and other renewable forms of energy, visit Your Sustainable Energy World or go to our homepage for information on energy safety, efficiency, and ethics.



A Word from Our Teachers

I definitely liked the games. I pulled them up on my SMART Board and the kids loved it. It’s good because it gives an initial ‘bonus prompt’ they can answer—kids got a kick out of that. There were some excellent activities under Energy Efficiency as well.

I thought the materials were very age appropriate; and the language, the pictures, the eBooks were very helpful. I also thought the FAQ section was nice because you could use that as a form of assessment before you even started the lesson, and then as we went through it we could go back and reassess.

The experiment section was really good I found. I thought it was helpful how they provided a clear objective, and the procedure I needed to follow for the lesson.
—5th Grade Teacher, Marsh Grammar School, Methuen, MA

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