Dream in Green’s WE-LAB Helps Students Save Money, Energy and Water MDC teamed up with Dream in Green, a Miami nonprofit dedicated to environmental education, to bring informational workshops to InterAmerican and North campuses this semester. The workshops are part of the Water and Energy Learning and Behavior Project (WE-LAB), a collaboration between Dream in Green, Miami-Dade County and some Broward County municipalities. WE-LAB works to increase awareness of the interrelation of water and energy as resources. Professor Benjamin Augustyn said students in his social science classes at Wolfson Campus gained new perspectives on the complex issues involving water and power conservation while they learned ways to reduce their own usage and save money. At the WE-LAB workshop, participants learned recycling tips from Jeanmarie Massa, who works with the Department of Solid Waste Management. “It was a great opportunity to introduce students to practical tips we all can use every day to reduce the burden we put on the planet through our water and energy consumption,” Augustyn said. “If more and more people start changing their daily habits and make them more sustainable, if they develop an awareness about the magnitude of their small, everyday actions, then they will realize that they don’t have to wait for a political solution to global warming. They can start addressing the problem now, and help themselves out financially in the process.” In the United States, nearly half of the water withdrawn is used to keep power plants cool. In Miami-Dade County, Florida Power & Light has one of the highest water bills. Water and wastewater utilities are generally the largest consumers of energy, accounting for 30 to 40 percent of total energy consumed in municipalities. Miami-Dade Water & Sewer Department has the highest energy bill in the county. Given the strong correlations between power and water, any decrease in the use of either leads to savings of money and resources. Attendees were given a free WELAB toolkit containing energy-saving LED or compact fluorescent light bulbs, a water-efficient shower head, a shower timer and leak detection tablets so they could change their water and power use practices at home. “Making these changes doesn’t just help the environment, it helps you as well,” said Alexandra Ender, WE-LAB program manager at Dream in Green. “These are small picture solutions that people can do at home, and they will save money as well.”
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