Remscheid's energy piggy bank: When saving energy becomes child's play

The town of Remscheid has long been motivating its schools and kindergartens to behave in a climate-friendly manner, with both young and old taking part. At more than 50 facilities, teachers, educators, janitors and, above all, the children and young people are consciously making more economical use of energy and water.

There is great potential for climate protection in the area of personal behaviour, which offers financial advantages too. These savings have been exploited since 1998 and 2001 respectively, with the "Weniger ist mehr" ("Less is More") programme for schools and "Energiesparschwein" ("The Energy Piggy Bank") for kindergartens. In total, well over €1 million has already been saved. Only part of the money is kept by the city, among other things to further finance the programmes. The participating Remscheid schools and day care centres receive the majority of this to use as they see fit. A strong incentive – with which 8,694 tonnes of carbon dioxide have already been saved.

Engine for progress:

  • wide distribution throughout the city
  • advice and training for all stakeholders
  • self-sufficient and easily transferable to other municipalities

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Photo: Stadt Remscheid

Energy saving and climate protection in the classroom at a Remscheid primary school

Sustainable Climate Protection Education

The main focus of the project is on providing sustainable education to children and pupils on the topic of climate change. Integration of the topic into everyday classroom and kindergarten life is rewarded with additional financial incentives. A large share of the financial savings are distributed to the facilities, depending on their educational activities regarding climate protection. The children themselves do not need any extra motivation. At many schools, environmental groups have been formed, which are drawing attention to themselves in numerous ways, from poster campaigns to environmental musicals. Energy saving detectives and inspectors track down waste, make sure the lights are switched off and monitor sensible ventilation and proper heating.

The city services in charge not only support the schools and day care centres with training and energy consulting, but are also intensively involved in providing advice on climate protection education, on project days and with educational materials, etc. Almost all of the schools and day care centres in Remscheid are participating in the programmes. Therefore, most children and young people in the city have been aware of climate protection for quite some time.

Scope for New Investment in Climate Protection

One can clearly see that climate protection has become deeply rooted in their consciousness from the uses being made of additional "earned" funds. They are often spent on new energy-saving technology. In total, 20 solar panels on school and sports hall roofs and two micro co-generation systems have been installed, along with many other smaller measures.

Photo: private

"The energy saving projects to change user behaviour are part of the many efforts by the city of Remscheid to protect the climate. Many children and young people have gained experience of the sensible use of energy and have drawn very practical conclusions from this."

Carolin Kunz (left, department for facility management) and Monika Meves (right, department for the environment), City of Remscheid

Partners and sponsors

  • Stadt Remscheid, Fachdienst Umwelt und Gebäudemanagement
  • Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Naturschutz, Bau und Reaktorsicherheit (BmUB)

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