'Powering an Energy Smart Future'

This October, Conway Corp celebrated Energy Awareness Month and Public Power Week by encouraging local students to show their energy smarts and participate in a poster and essay contest. Students in grades K-4 were asked to create a poster on the theme “Powering an Energy Smart Future” while students in fifth-seventh grade and eighth-12th grade were asked to write an essay on the same theme. First, second and third place prizes were awarded in each age category.  

Woodrow Cummins Elementary third-grader Tori Worley won first place in the poster contest. Tori won a Conway Corp prize pack, and an Energy Smart pizza party and $100 donation for her classroom.

Ty Freyaldenhoven, a first-grader representing the Art School, won second place and Lily Mason, third grade at Woodrow Cummins, won third place.

In the fifth-seventh grade category, Delia Baatz won first place for her essay “Powering an Energy Smart Future.” Allison Purtle won second place for her “An Energetic Future” essay, and Aiyla East won third place for her “Teach Them Well – Powering an Energy Efficient Future” essay. Baatz is a sixth-grader at Bob Courtway Middle School. Purtle and East are seventh-graders at Ruth Doyle Middle School.

“Saving our Future: Energy” by Elaina Taylor won first place in the eighth-12th grade category. “Always with Celerity” by Meagan Carmack received second place, and “The Power of the Future Lies Within the Energy of Today” by Nicole Penn received third place. Taylor, Carmack and Penn are all seniors at Conway Senior High School.

Students in the essay contest won cash prizes. Below are excerpts from Taylor’s and Baatz’s winning essays.

Taylor: “Envision the future: holographic telephone calls, hovercrafts and climate controlled cities. We all agree the future involves more and more technology and with this, more energy is demanded. Energy is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as ‘usable power (as heat/electricity).’ It is incredibly valuable in everyday life due to everything we do needing or generating energy, which is why powering an energy smart future is essential to maintain life. There are a myriad of ways to do this, including in the home, community and utilizing more renewable energy.

“The first step toward powering an intelligent energy future is starting at the grass roots level, the individual home. Simple options can drastically improve energy cost savings. Utilizing a programmed thermostat to set times to cool a house while the temperature is warmer while you’re gone can actually save up to $150 a year. Think of all the potential energy saving during those eight hours the average citizen isn’t home; and that way there isn’t a single day that energy is wasted because of someone forgetting to adjust their thermostat.

“The community at large is the next place to look when improving energy efficiency. The first step in this process is awareness. Many Americans understand the harms in using too much energy and the accompanying substantial costs, but other than these two disadvantages, over 60 percent that were polled in a Harris Interactive survey were unaware of energy savings incentives available to them. There are usually tax rebates and incentives for making energy efficient upgrades. However, Arkansas is not one of those fortunate states that benefit from a government program currently; although many small business organizations have other programs that are offering incentives in Arkansas until those governmental agencies have means to order them here as well.

“An example of one of these programs is the Small Business Energy Solutions Program that incentivizes technical supports if the consumer has a peak demand of less than 100kWh and also offers a $0.18/kWh for those taking energy efficient steps their first year for lighting control and covers the cost of direct installation projects for their customers. Also, more opportunities are readily available to a converted residence. By taking the initiative and making everyone in the community aware of the importance of energy efficiency and how many incentives are available, this will momentously help the cause.

“Another key factor in improving community smart energy efficiency is to realize that all the household benefits can be applicable to offices too. For example, certain companies in Conway keep the bathroom light off and allow the customer to turn it on as needed because allowing so much energy to generate throughout an eight-hour work day is truly both a waste of energy and neglecting the company’s fiscal responsibility. The money and energy saved in the home and community through one year would be tremendous if everyone would just practice these simple suggestions.”

Baatz: “For years, people lived in darkness then Thomas Edison provided us with the ability to see through that darkness with electricity. For the people of Conway, this life-changing service is provided by Conway Corp. Not only for homes, but for businesses as well. Ideas for the future are able to become reality because they provide the energy needed to meet dreams.

“Conway Corp also shows a concern for customers and the environment by providing tips for conserving energy. At my home, we use natural sunlight instead of using our lights during the day. When we brush our teeth, we keep the water turned off until it’s time to rinse the brush instead of leaving it running.

“A lot of people don’t realize that leaving your electronics plugged in uses electricity even if the items are not in use. For instance, we always make sure to unplug chargers for our phones and computers when they are not needed. My mother also recently had a family meeting on how to properly load the dishwasher to ensure that the most amount of dishes can be cleaned while cutting down on the number of loads we have to run. We turned off the heat drying on the dishwasher and allow them to air dry.

“I have a 2-year-old brother named Genesis and an 8-month-old sister named Marley Jade. My wish for the future is that they have a green planet and clean air to breathe as they grow. The changes that I have listed for energy use are just some of the ways that my family makes a difference to make my wish come true. With the growing population, more people need to join the cause and reduce their own carbon footprint. I think everyone could come together to make our world a better place.”

Congratulations to all the winners of the 2015 Energy Smart Essay and Poster Contest, and thank you to all students who submitte
d an entry. Conway Corp is proud of these students who continue to encourage us all to conserve energy in our everyday lives.