News and Speeches

Schools Facilities CEO John Shea, City Sustainability Deputy Director Adam Freed and Actor Matthew Modine Call on Schools to Reduce Energy Consumption by Joining the Green Cup Challenge


New York City Public School Students Can Participate in the Challenge from January 15 through February 12

New York City Department of Education Division of School Facilities CEO John Shea and Deputy Director of the Mayor’s Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability Adam Freed today announced that students can help the City reduce its total energy consumption by participating in the Green Cup Challenge ™, an annual, student-led event that supports efforts to measure and reduce school-based electricity use. The Green Cup Challenge is sponsored by the national non-profit group, the Green Schools Alliance (GSA), which the Department of Education (DOE) joined last spring. The DOE’s membership in the Green Schools Alliance is part of the City’s overall efforts to achieve its PlaNYC target of reducing municipal government energy consumption and carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2017. Facilities CEO Shea and Deputy Director Freed made the announcement at MS 442, the New Horizons School, in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, where they were joined by Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, City Council member Brad Lander, DOE Director of Sustainability Ozgem Ornektekin, Deputy Commissioner for Energy Management of the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services Ariella Maron, and MS 442 Principal Deanna Diable.

“Our public schools consume 25 percent of the energy used in New York City public facilities, and we encourage our students and staff to conserve,” Deputy Chancellor for Infrastructure and Portfolio Planning Kathleen Grimm said. “This challenge is a great way for our students to participate in reducing our carbon footprint by monitoring energy use in their classrooms, in hallways, and throughout their school buildings.”

“I feel very strongly about empowering individuals to make a measurable, tangible difference to our community, our environment and our personal health,” said actor Matthew Modine, who will be coming to Broadway this spring in a new production of The Miracle Worker. “I support the efforts of the Green Schools Alliance and the Green Cup Challenge, which empowers students to increase energy conservation in their schools.”

“Our schools are positioned to make a big difference in helping New York City to meet its greenhouse gas reduction goals,” School Facilities CEO Shea said. “Through participation in this program, our schools will reduce their energy consumption levels, while also serving as learning laboratories that give students a hands-on education in the importance of conservation.”

“PlaNYC – the City’s long-term plan for a greener, greater New York, sets aggressive targets for reducing the carbon emissions emitted by City government and by the City as a whole,” Deputy Director Freed said. “The only way we are going to achieve those goals is by attacking the problem in multiple ways with innovative programs like the Green Cup Challenge. I hope the resourcefulness and creativity of New York City school kids will generate new ideas that the sustainability experts haven’t even thought of.”

This is the first year that New York City public school students will participate in the Green Cup Challenge, which runs from January 15 through February 12, 2010. Students from nearly 1,600 schools located in 1,260 public school buildings are eligible to join in the Challenge, with schools located in shared facilities collaborating to reduce building-wide energy consumption levels. In addition to City schools, more than 150 other schools in 22 states, Canada and Australia will take part in the program. The Green Schools Alliance will announce the names of schools that achieve the greatest energy conservation improvements later this year.

“The energy consumed in the City’s K-12 schools is responsible for a quarter of City government’s total spending on light, heat, and power, so improving how efficiently we use energy in these buildings can help save the City millions of dollars,” Deputy Commissioner Maron said. “The Green Cup Challenge is an excellent and fun way to increase awareness about the common-sense steps we all can take, in our offices and homes, to conserve energy and help the environment.”

“Brooklyn is far and away New York City’s greenest borough, and the students participating in the Green Cup Challenge are proof,” Borough President Marty Markowitz said. “They’re showing us that making small changes in how we live our lives can have a huge positive effect on our environment. I can’t wait to see the results, because the more everybody “loses,” the more we all win.”

“Students at New Horizons Middle School, and in Green Schools Alliance schools around NYC, are showing us all how we can make New York City a more sustainable place, one small act at a time,” Councilman Lander said. “Through the Green Cup Challenge™, our students are truly becoming the 'green citizens' of tomorrow.”

“Our students are learning a great deal about the importance of sustainability through guest speakers whom we invite to the school and through a special partnership with the Lowes Foundation, which will help us create a “green” roof,” Principal Diable said. “Participating in the Green Cup Challenge will build on those opportunities by allowing students to lead the way in our school’s conservation efforts.”

“The Green Cup Challenge is a tremendous opportunity to raise awareness in school and at home about the importance of energy conservation,” said GSA Founder and President Peg Watson.  “Together with schools nationwide, this student-driven energy challenge is galvanizing our school community around practical ways to reduce our energy use and carbon footprint, while having fun and making a difference.”

“What better way to ensure the full implementation of Mayor Bloomberg’s visionary PlaNYC and the appreciation by our young people of the importance of environmental sustainability than The Green Cup Challenge? This competition is terrific preparation for one of the most important roles they will in their adult lives – as environmentally conscious stewards of our fragile planet.  I salute the Department of Education, the Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability, and The Green Schools Alliance for involving our schools in The Green Cup Challenge,” Councilman James F. Gennaro said.

Over the past two years, the Division of School Facilities began “benchmarking” school buildings as a foundation for reducing energy consumption in City school facilities. Benchmarking measures energy usage by adding up the total energy consumed in a building and adjusting for other factors – such as the hours a building is occupied, total square footage, and building type – so that the City can understand the factors contributing to energy use in individual schools and better identify inefficiencies. The DOE used the “Energy Star Portfolio Manager” online benchmarking tool, a widely recognized standard created by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Data generated through this benchmarking process will provide a baseline against which schools can measure progress in reducing energy consumption not only during the Green Cup Challenge, but also as the City works to achieve its long-term PlaNYC goals.

More information about the Green Cup Challenge is available at: