Thursday, April 28, 2005

Our Model of Planting Trees Posted by Hello

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Planting Trees

Currently in the Commons Co-op we have been arranging a plan to plant 15000 trees on one of the students property. We are currently gathering the necessary supplies, which include all the standard planting tools like shovels, wheelbarrows and watering buckets. We also had to gather food supplies as we are making this planting activity a school fieldtrip, and there will be around 80 people participating in this activity on May 11th. We also made a manual for the other students planting the trees; though this manual is simple it will provide an easy guide on the steps to planting the trees. Once we arrive at the student’s house where the land is, we will break into groups and start planting one thousand five hundred trees.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Liquid Natural Gas Usage

The Commons Coop research and service group has recently been studying the usage of natural gas in the Vermont Commons School. We received the records of the CCFs used by month since September of this year, and calculated the CCF usage by month. As natural gas is used by the heating system in the school, it was expected that usage would rise during the winter months, and sure enough it did. However, the total CCF produced a grand total of about 130 lbs of carbon—or about 5 more trees. If we were to significantly reduce the amount of natural gas we (the school) used, then it would not be all that beneficial to our project.

by Nick

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Project Update

The project is working very well so far. We have calculated our carbon emissions, lowered our energy usage, developed plan to conserve even more electricity and currently are working for a net zero carbon emission at our school. However, like all projects we do have a few components that need to be completed before moving on to the next step in the process.

  • Calculate the Liquid Natural Gas usage at the school and its correlating CO2 emissions.
  • Finalize an agreement with a landowner to donate space for our carbon sink.
  • Order the seedlings and plant them, giving us the net zero carbon emissions.
  • Create a PR statement that can relate our project to other schools and organizations.
  • Find and implement other energy efficient technologies around our school. Do we purchase technology, work on the culture/manners piece or do both?
  • Set up a relationship with foundations to support our energy-saving work in the future.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

A Stella Model to Calculate CO2 Sequestration

Editor's Note: The model that the students' produced uses Stella. If you want a copy of the model just send me an e-mail at and I will forward you one.

For the past few days Andrew and I have been working on calculating how much CO2 different species of trees absorb throughout their lifetime. Our plan at the Vermont Commons school was to use trees to absorb as much CO2 the school produces as possible. The different species of trees we looked at were: Pine, Oak and Maple. We found that Pine trees absorb the most Carbon in their lifetime, even though they do not live as long a Maple trees. From the data we collected we decided to use pine trees as our main CO2 consuming plant. Hopefully we will be able to get a deal with a tree nursery because for our project we are going to need over 1,000 trees. On a side note my and Andrew’s first idea was to use maple trees and when the trees reached the age that they could be tapped for maple syrup, make a profit for the Commons Co-op. This idea though was not quite particle as it takes decades for the age maple trees we wanted to plant to be able to produce enough sap to tap. As well as the fact that pine trees take up more carbon then maples do. We then preceded to make a Stella model with one of our head system dynamicists at the school. This model was built in order to simulate how many trees we would need for the project, as well as give us a chance to calculate some other aspects of our overall plan. Like adding additional trees, or other plants. What we will do now is use this model to map out the CO2 consumption of the trees and determine how many more to plant in the following years.

Written by Ian 8th grade

A draft letter...

The following is a draft of a letter we are sending to the owner of a potential location of our carbon sink. This draft provides good background on the project and our progress so far. The letter was written by Francis a 9th Grader.

On behalf of the Vermont Commons Co-op we would like to thank you for volunteering your time, energy and land to our cause. The purpose of this letter is to propose to you our plan and the complications involving the amount of trees needed and the type of soil that can support the trees.

There are three possible types of trees that we are willing to plant, although one of them would be the best. We would like to propose maple trees when it comes to planting although pine and oak would work as well. The reason for this is that as the trees mature they can be used for sugaring and more profit can be made off of them.

After plugging in our data, we figured out that we are emitting approximately 75 tons of carbon into the atmosphere each year. To completely absorb that amount of carbon over twenty years we would have to plant up to 1,500 trees this year. The amount would be much greater than this if we are going to absorb all of that carbon in one year. To do that, the trees would all have to be planted at the stage in their life when they absorb the most carbon and the number of trees needed would be around 10,000. This is an unreasonable number, so we have settled on planting the additional trees every year and slowly working up to that number. We are only asking to use about five acres of your land, and we will find other sites to use in the future. As for the labor involved, we are going to be planting the trees ourselves, and only need to know which areas would suit your purposes the best.

Once again we would like to extend the most profound thank you for this opportunity. We would have been hard pressed to find the number of acres needed somewhere else. Please let us know when we can meet with either or both of you to work out the details on where to plant, and what kind of trees you prefer.

The Vermont Commons Co-op.

Electricity Savings at VCS so far....

In this year so far we have lowered the energy use from last year a little bit. The years are split by three meters, downstairs, upstairs, and house. There is the total kwh use for each year. And for the number this year has used less than last year. There are also the days for that month on each of the sheets. The energy cost is made into an average per day. There is the monthly cost for each month in the sheets. The main thing that has changed is the energy used per day.

The amount for the money raised in some of the meters this year compared from last year to this year. The first meter the cost raise by over 1,000 dollars. The other two meters the cost lowered by at least 1,000 dollars. Overall it lowered for the kwh and it overall lowered for the cost of energy. For the kwh it lowered 15833 and it lowered 1200.09 for the cost.

So the turnout for last year compared to this year was a drop in the cost and hours used of kwh. This was a good saver for the schools energy use and cost. The amount decrease for two of the meters was a really good thing for the school to save our money. When we did the change for percentage it decreased the amount by 11.60%. And the hours decreased by a percent of 18.60%.

So the overall turnout was that the cost and the hours of kwh dropped. This turnout was very good for the energy saving for the Vermont Commons School.

By Joey 7th Grade