Posts Tagged ‘Green schools’

KidWind and Green School Supplies

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

Wind power is growing leaps and bounds, with the total capacity for electricity produced from wind power growing 45% in 2007 alone.  If T. Boone Pickens has his way, wind power will grow to provide 20% of our electricity in just ten years.  Such rapid growth in wind power creates a huge opportunity for many businesses, opportunities that extend far beyond wind farms right into the classrooms of the next generation. 

Green schools are a growing trend, with schools going green in various ways.  Many schools are greening their facilities by installing solar panels, installing organic landscaping, and making their buildings energy efficient.  The USGBC has a green schools program tracking and encouraging the construction of green LEED certified school buildings, estimating that green schools can save $100,000 a year.  Saving money and creating a healthy work and study environment is good for everyone involved, but green school buildings are only the start. 

In 75 Green Businesses I talk about the opportunities for schools and teachers to green what happens inside of schools as well, describing work going on at schools greening their curriculum like the Bertschi school in Seattle.  Green businesses of the future will rely on the kids going through our educational system today.  A report from the American Solar Energy Society estimates that the green economy will generate 40 million jobs in the US by 2030, high-quality, rewarding jobs created by innovative, entrepreneurial businesses.  Parents and educators are realizing that our kids need to be prepared for this increasingly green world of the future.

Getting there will require a solid grounding in basics, but going beyond the basics will open up the possibility for kids to go even farther.  Learning about renewable energy, waste reduction, energy efficiency, water conservation, and organic agriculture will open up a broad range of future career and business opportunities.  And learning about these things by getting your hands on them is pretty fun too.

As more schools and teachers catch this trend, there is a need for teaching materials that can bring to life the principles involved.  Michael Arquin founded the KidWind Project five years ago to meet this need.  KidWind designs, produces and sells kits and materials to teach about wind turbines and other forms of renewable energy.  Their wind turbine kits are scalable, modular, and reasonably priced.  Walking the green walk, their materials are also increasingly produced domestically, using recycled material, using wind power.  The sales of KidWind have tripled every year so far, so that KidWind now employees ten people and will soon be launching KidSolar and KidH2 (about fuel cells).   In addition to selling wind turbine kits, KidWind provides workshops, curriculum materials, and other forms of outreach to the community.  We back our products up with extensive teacher training and free curricular materials,” says Arquin.  “We are not really in this to pack boxes - we are in it to help teachers learn how to integrate renewable energies into everyday teaching.”

The opportunity is not limited to green schools, but to eager and curious kids everywhere.  The greener that schools get, the more opportunities there will be to help them.  Green schools are going to need recycled paper, pencils from sustainably harvested trees, and healthy, organic school lunches.  Businesses that can meet these needs will be furthering the next generation of green entrepreneurs.  Helping them learn about the great green world we can create will help to make it happen. 


Glenn Croston is the author of “75 Green Businesses You Can Start to Make Money and Make a Difference”, describing a broad range of opportunities for entrepreneurs from many backgrounds to join the green business revolution.  He is also the founder of Starting Up Green, helping green entrepreneurs to succeed with tips, success stories, eco-entrepreneur profiles, and connections to experts.