Despite the COVID-19 crisis, IGS Rotenburg makes strides toward saving energy

09 April 2020 - Published by Debbie Glen
Since school closures due to COVID-19, the dedicated teachers of IGS Rotenburg, one of the start German 2IMPREZS pilot schools located in Lower Saxony, has been passing tasks onto the students on a voluntary basis. As the pupils and teachers remain hard at work through this global crisis, let us reflect on the great actions taken by the IGS Rotenburg so far through the 2IMPREZS Energy Challenges.




IGS Rotenburg is an open, integrated comprehensive school (Integrierte Gesamtschule) for the grades 5-10. The school boasts two locations in Rotenburg (Wümme), Lower Saxony and prioritises the introduction of sustainability in the classroom.

One major achievement of the pupils of the IGS Rotenburg ROW (Richtig Organisierter Wandel, or ‘’Properly Organised Change’’) thus far is the calculation of energy savings/opportunities to reduce carbon emissions through various behavioural changes. Some of their findings, which are specific to the IGS Rotenburg school building and were calculated with guidance of their teacher(s), include:

  1. By using recycled paper, we save over 15 kg of wood every day.
  2. Switching off the active boards during breaks saves as much energy as a refrigerator uses in six hours.
  3. Turning the lights off during school breaks saves as much energy as that consumed during 20 hours of television!
  4. Turning off the school computers during lunch breaks saves as much energy as it takes to cook lunch for 16 people!
  5. With only 1 ° C less heating at school, we can save 6% energy!



Above: This placard was posted throughout the IGS Rotenburg school building prior to COVID-19 closures as one of the early actions of the pupils within the 2IMPREZS Energy Challenges.


Further, the IGS Rotenburg ROW group has taken the following exceptional actions toward energy consumption/carbon emissions awareness and reduction: 

  • Survey of all 30 classes regarding sustenance, transport, consciousness and others
  • Information communicated and disseminated to all age groups: How much energy do we save each day at IGS ROW?
  • Veggie Day: Offering only veggie options on one day of the week to reduce carbon emissions.
  • Signs for all copy rooms with the reminder, "Beidseitig kopieren" –copy/print double-sided to save paper.
  • Upcycling Project Week (March 9th-13th 2020): Pupils upcycled Tetra Paks, toilet paper rolls, cans, corks, egg cartons, etc. in order to build useful and beautiful objects. This was done with five classes within the 8th grade. The pupils also quantified the materials used in order to estimate reduction in waste as a result of the activity.  
  • Energiefresser, or Energy Eaters – made of carton and reminding the pupils to save energy at determined devices – have been placed throughout the school!
  • Energy Sheriffs have been established in all classes since February 2020



Above: IGS Rotenburg has calculated that each ‘Veggie Day’ saves 6.75 kg in meat consumed. They have calculated that this results the following savings: 33.75 kg less grain used (as animal feed), 103,950 litres of water fewer consumed, 202.5 square metres less farm area/space utilised, and ultimately, 148 kg fewer greenhouse gas emissions.


Below: The tasks of the Energy Sheriffs chosen to identify areas for energy savings and reductions in carbon emissions have been listed out and posted throughout the school. Actions include switching off the active board screen during breaks, shutting down the PCs (and reminding teachers to do so!) after the last period, and turning off the lights during school breaks.



2IMPREZS Energy Challenges contingency plan in the wake of COVID-19 

Now that schools across the NSR and the world are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2IMPREZS Energy Challenges tasks are offered on a voluntary. Luckily, IGS Rotenburg is currently in good exchange with students, parents and colleagues, and thus can prompt pupils to conduct 2IMPREZS-related activities and research from their homes. The current project of the IGS Rotenburg Energizers in the 10th grade is their desk/internet research on energy saving and carbon emissions reduction. The pupils have been prompted to conduct research projects related to energy consumption and carbon emission reduction with the following key questions:

  1. What exactly is climate change and what are greenhouse gases? How much paper and the associated energy is currently saved per week through online lessons?
  2. How much energy is saved by green electricity compared to "usual" electricity?
  3. What is sustainability? (Compiling a digital school poster)
  4. How can sensible energy be saved at home? (Among other things, proper heating, ventilation, recycling, reuse of materials such as through upcycling).
  5. Scientific connections: What does environmental awareness have to do with reducing the impacts of global warming? How can ‘’insect hotels’’ preserve the environment and thus our food?


The pupils’ results can then be used to inform other pupils and colleagues via email and to encourage them to come up with ideas of their own.

In addition, the suggestions of the German Federal Ministry "Environment in the classroom" can be utilised by parents and pupils from home, which have now also adapted to the situation following the school closures. Next steps and suggestions for further work after returning to school are formulated there.

The IGS Rotenburg has already made fantastic efforts to reduce energy consumption and thus carbon emissions in their school, and now from their homes. Even during these unsettling times of COVID-19, their achievements are nothing short of inspiring.


Above: The workspaces of the German Energizers of IGS Rotenburg during their Upcycling Project Week last month.