NGRID Fall e-newsletter
Winter 2010

Your Sustainable Energy

Harnessing Power from the Sun…
Even in the Wintertime, Even at Schools Like Yours!

Did you know?

Devices that change light into electricity are called PV, which stands for photovoltaic. Photo means “light” and voltaic means “something that produces an electric current.” The word “voltaic” comes from Alessandro Volta, the inventor of the first electric battery.

Did you know that solar panels work even during the winter months? While shorter, cloudier days (and snow) can impact the amount of solar power that’s generated, low temperatures have nothing to do with it. As long as sunlight reaches the surface of the solar panel, then the silicon cells can generate power through a photovoltaic (PV) system (NOTE: some solar power is generated using the sun’s heat—see “thermal solar power.”)

Here’s how solar power works, solar cells are thin layers of silicon covered with special glass or plastic. They can be connected together to make solar panels. Several panels can be grouped together into solar arrays, and large number of arrays can be assembled to create a solar power plant. When light strikes a cell, it is absorbed and its energy knocks electrons loose and forces them to flow. This flow of electrons produces a current that can be harnessed to power things.

National Grid has 20 years of solar power experience. In the late 1980’s, we installed and interconnected some of the first large-scale solar photovoltaic pilots. This included solar installations on over 30 homes and businesses in Gardener, MA and a 100 kW installation at Beverly High School in Beverly, MA. To this date, we have connected approximately 5.64 MW of distributed solar generation to the Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire electric distribution system. In addition, we have administered installation of over 1,700 photovoltaic systems on Long Island, New York. We have even equipped our headquarters in Waltham, MA with a 225 kilo-watt photovoltaic system that will generate approximately 5% of the building’s energy needs.

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.


Electrical & Natural Gas Safety

Do You Know What to do in an Emergency?


Energy Efficiency

Simple Steps to Save Energy at School

Would you know what to do if you suspected a gas leak? What about if you saw someone get shocked? Electricity and natural gas are an integral part of our daily lives, conveniences most of us take for granted. But they can also be dangerous and even deadly if not used properly. Most kids—and most adults for that matter—don’t know what to do in the face of such an emergency. That’s why it’s important to teach kids to respond calmly and appropriately in the case of a gas or electricity emergency.

Instruct your students to bring home the Electric Home Safety Inspection checklist and the Natural Gas Home Safety Inspection checklist to their parents to identify and remedy potential hazards in their home. After they’ve identified the hazards, parents and students should review what to do in the most common emergencies.

Here’s how you should react if you see someone get shocked:

  • Call 911 and tell them it’s an electrical accident.
  • Ask an adult to give first aid when the victim is no longer in contact with the source of electricity.
  • Always take the victim to the doctor even if you don’t see burns—burns may be inside the body.

Here’s what you should do if you smell natural gas:

  • Don’t use or turn on or off anything that might create a spark. Even the tiniest spark can ignite natural gas.
  • Leave your home immediately and take others with you.
  • Go to a neighbor’s house and call your local gas utility to report the odor.

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


Did you know the annual energy bill to run America’s primary and secondary schools is a staggering $6 billion? That’s more than what’s spent on textbooks and computers combined. Students and teachers can do a lot to save energy in their schools. By being more energy efficient, schools can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save money from improved energy performance. The savings can be used for projects that improve the learning environment like building improvements and new textbooks.

Below are some tips you can implement in your classrooms to
save energy:

  • Create a “Save Energy” sign to hang near classroom light switches as a reminder to turn the lights off when not in use.
  • Pick an energy monitor to make sure lights and computers are turned off before recess, lunch, and after school.
  • Make sure books or furniture don’t block the vents in your classroom.
  • Encourage students to keep doors and windows closed when heat or air conditioning is running.
  • Remind students to turn off the water in the bathroom when they are finished using it.
  • Ask students to report water leaks to you or the custodian.

When students learn to be more energy efficient at school, they can bring what they’ve learned home. Ask your students to use our Save Energy at Home Tips and the Home Energy Inspection to identify and implement energy savings behaviors. Then it’s time to have them complete the Pocket Your Energy Savings experiment. It’s a fun way for students to earn some extra spending money by reducing their family’s energy bill. They’ll work with their parents to compare energy use to what their family used during the same months of the prior year. The dollar savings go directly to the students. The more money they save, the more money they earn.

Get more activities and games that inspire students to use energy wise by visiting Energy efficiency world and find out about safety, the environment, and ethics by visiting our home page at



Volunteering: A Gift to Students and Community

Volunteering is a great experience for children during the holiday season or anytime of year. The experience is valuable to a child’s development into a responsible and ethical adult. When children volunteer they learn about compassion, respect, cooperation, commitment and leadership. Moreover, it’s a great opportunity to gain both social and occupational skills—and let’s not forget learning to be thankful for what we have.

There are lots of opportunities for children of all ages to volunteer. You may want to explore them by brainstorming and adopting a project as a class. When considering volunteer opportunities, consider your students’ interests and abilities, the needs of the community, logistics and level of commitment, as well as school and parental approval (and involvement). Also, if you decide to partner with or adopt a charitable organization, make sure they are reputable.

Volunteer activities could include…

  • A can drive or coupon collection for the local food bank
  • A visit to a local senior center or nursing home
  • The organization of, and participation in, a toy or book drive
  • Shoveling snow for senior citizens or neighbors
  • Calling your city or town offices or the local Chamber of Commerce to find out about other non-profits or charitable organizations in your area

Volunteering is a great learning experience for students. By participating, they will learn to work as a team, help others in need and to give back to the community. The experience can instill solid ethics and lifetime devotion to helping others. Visit Ethics Explorer for more lessons and activities on ethics and visit our homepage at


A Word from Our Teachers

I was impressed at how parent-friendly and child friendly the website was. I could order and print out the things that I needed, and quickly access things—I thought, ‘Wow, that’s quick!’ Normally I have to go through page after page of information to find what I need, but I didn’t have to read through all sorts of extraneous info here. And if I needed a booklet right away, I could download it. I also liked that there was a checklist. And there’s still enough left to do on the site that the parents can go on and do with their kids. There are great resources there for parents that really want to delve more into that topic. I liked the way it was very visually set up, so you could see a picture, and click through and preview the books before you ordered them. That I really liked! Also, that you could print out what you liked.      
K-4 Gifted Teacher, Campus West School, Buffalo, NY


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