News and Speeches

Schools Chancellor Walcott Announces $100,000 in Grants to 10 Public Schools that Cut Energy Use By An Average of 16% in a Month


Martin Luther King Jr. High School Campus won the top prize of $25,000 for reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 35.1%, which equates to taking 20 cars off City Streets

Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott today announced grants to the top 10 public schools which reduced energy consumption during a month-long competition called the Green Cup Challenge™.  On average the winning schools cut carbon dioxide emissions by 16%. The competition was created by the Green Schools Alliance, a nonprofit organization of public and private schools whose aim is to reduce the carbon footprint through energy conservation.  This was the second year that the City Department of Education (DOE) participated in the challenge and it is the first year grants were made available.

The grants were provided by the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS), which offered a financial incentive to each City agency that reduced its energy use as part of a roll-out of a DCAS program called the Energy Management's Energy Efficiency Operations and Maintenance Plan. The DOE successfully reduced its energy consumption in one year in its implementation of the plan and distributed $100,000 in grants to the best-performing schools in the Green Cup Challenge™. The grants will go toward energy-saving programs to improve building operations and maintenance.  The DOE’s participation in the Green Cup Challenge™ 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. The competition ran from March 4 through April 1. 

“Congratulations to our students, principals, teachers and staff who worked together to make minor changes, such as shutting off lights in empty rooms, that made a major impact on reducing energy consumption in their school buildings,” Chancellor Walcott said. “They teach us all the importance of energy conservation and preserving our natural resources.”

“The Department of Citywide Administrative Services is supporting the Green Cup Challenge™ as part of our citywide plan to improve the energy-efficient operations and maintenance of City government buildings,” said DCAS Commissioner Edna Wells Handy. “The students and schools taking on this challenge are showing all New Yorkers how simple steps can make a big difference in reducing our City's energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.”

“Our public schools consume 25% of the energy use in New York City buildings, and the Green Cup Challenge™ has helped to encourage our students and staff to conserve,” Deputy Chancellor of Operations Kathleen Grimm said.

“The students and staff who have won these awards are helping lead the way toward a more energy-efficient future, and will help reduce City government’s greenhouse gas emissions,” said David Bragdon, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability. “The City has dedicated $280 million for energy reduction and retrofits, but the active participation and operating practices of teachers, custodians, administrators and students is essential. The Challenge has the added benefit of teaching the younger generation about the importance of energy efficiency, and the student winners of the Cup today are more likely to be the efficiency-minded adults of the future.”

“We created Green Cup Challenge™ to invite our members to participate in a healthy and educational energy conservation competition to benefit schools, said Peg Watson, president and founder of the Green Schools Alliance. “ MLK campus demonstrated how schools can successfully reduce the carbon footprint in a big way.”

“The campus is a great example of what can be accomplished when people work together to cut energy use,” said John Shea, CEO of the DOE’s Division of School Facilities. “Our Office of Sustainability is working with all our public schools to accomplish their personal best in reducing electricity and increasing recycling.”

The top-performing schools are:                                                                                     

  Winning Schools   % Reduction Grant Amount
1.  Martin Luther King Jr. High School (6 schools)  -35.1  $25,000
2.  Edison Career and Technical Education High School  -26.2 $20,000
3.  Hubert H. Humphrey PS 57 on Staten Island  -25.1  $15,000
4.  The Richard Rodgers School of Art and Technology  23.3  $10,000
5.  The Brooklyn New School/PS 146  -13.1  $5,000
6. Hudson Cliffs PS/IS 187 -11.4 $4,000
7. Fresh Meadows PS 173 -9.7 $4,000
8. High School for Construction Trades, Engineering, and Architecture -8.3  $4,000
9. Lower Lab PS77/ PS 198 in Manhattan  -3.8 $4,000
10. Academy for Careers in Television and Film IS 204 -3.5 $4,000

“The entire MLK campus community was vigilant in cutting down on electricity by shutting off lights and unplugging unused equipment, and we also increased our recycling efforts, “ said Principal Anne Geiger of the High School of Arts and Technology, one of six schools at the Martin Luther King Jr. High School Campus.

The top two winning Brooklyn schools, the Brooklyn New School and PS 146, also won free tours at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum. Two other schools were awarded grants for a public service awareness video and for a logo. In Tech Academy in the Bronx was awarded $3,000 for the student video, which can be viewed at and PS 77 in Brooklyn, a District 75 school, won $2,000 for creating this logo: