This year, during the fifth annual Green Cup Challenge, students from 116 schools in 22 states collectively prevented 1,567,562 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) from being released into the atmosphere in just four weeks. And the top school in the challenge reduced energy use by more than 30 percent.


The Green Cup Challenge is an inter-school energy conservation challenge, for grades K-12, sponsored by the nonprofit Green Schools Alliance. This year's challenge was held over a four week period from Jan. 18-Feb. 15 to coincide with peak energy use for schools over the winter months. Students and staff at participating schools were asked to conserve electricity, raise environmental awareness, and decrease their campus’s carbon footprint.


Here's the list of this year's top 10 energy reducing schools for the 2012 Green Cup Challenge:


1. St. Andrew’s School, Florida (-32%)

2. St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes School, Virginia (-28%)

3. The Hill School, Virginia (-23.4%)

4. Harvard-Westlake School, California (-22.1%) 

5. The Canterbury School, North Carolina (-18%)

6. The Belmont Hill School, Massachusetts (-17.4%)

7. The Turning Point School, California (-17.3%)

8. The White Mountain School, New Hampshire (-15.8%)

9. Sophia Academy, Georgia (-12.7%)

10. Cary Academy, North Carolina (-11.3%)


The students also submitted video entries of their energy reduction as part of the Green Cup Challenge Video Contest, with a winning video selected via an online voter poll. The video from this year's video winners, the Marist School, a private school for grades 7–12 in Atlanta is titled “So Fresh and So Green,” (a tongue-in-cheek adaptation of the hip-hop duo Outkast’s single, “So Fresh, So Clean.”)


It's really well-done, with clever rhymes about energy conservation, composting and recycling set to an infectious hip-hop rhythm. Check it out:  


Senior Branton Wandera ("Butta Biscuit" in the video) commented, “We believe the most important message in the video is that, just like the process of making the video, efforts to save energy and preserve the environment must be a team effort. One person can only do so much, but when a group of people work towards the same goal, the results are much more beneficial to the community as a whole. We must all work together.”


What does your school do to save energy?

Students prevent more than 1.5 million pounds of CO2 emissions
Schools participating in this year's Green Cup Challenge reduce energy consumption by as much as 32 percent.