Kids Discovery Factory Selected as Renewable Energy Demonstration Site by Team EARTH

Friday, April 12, 2024 at 9:51 AM

By Kids Discovery Factory, news release

Duke Energy has awarded Kids Discovery Factory a $3,000 grant to support renewable energy educational programming.

(Batesville, Ind.) - Team EARTH is proud to announce Kids Discovery Factory as its chosen renewable energy demonstration site. Team EARTH (Energy Awareness Rural Towns and Homes) is one of 67 qualifying teams competing nationwide in Phase 2 of the Energizing Rural Communities Prize with a goal of advancing renewable energy projects through innovative partnerships in rural communities.

Led by Dr. Peter Schubert, professor of electrical and computer engineering at IUPUI, Team EARTH’s model focuses on optimization of clean energy technologies to make adoption economically feasible.

Kids Discovery Factory was chosen from eleven potential sites evaluated in the region. As a demonstration site, Kids Discovery Factory will showcase proof of concept for Team EARTH’s partnership model.

Kids Discovery Factory is planning for a building renovation and addition that will house interactive and educational exhibits for children 0-14 years old. A portion of these exhibits will explore the benefits and applications of renewable energy technologies. Visitors will have the opportunity to explore various renewable energy sources, including solar, wind, and hydro power, and learn how these sources can contribute to a more sustainable future.

This initiative has caught the attention of Duke Energy and they have awarded Kids Discovery Factory a $3,000 grant to support renewable energy educational programming. In the upcoming 2024 STEAM Summer Camps, campers will participate in a breakout class that explores solar energy. The grant will also support program development surrounding exhibits that explore renewable energies.

Team EARTH's decision to designate Kids Discovery Factory as a demonstration site underscores the organization's recognition of the facility's commitment to environmental education and its potential to inspire positive change in the community.

"We are thrilled to be chosen as a renewable energy demonstration site by Team EARTH," said Emili Uden, Executive Director of Kids Discovery Factory. "This partnership aligns perfectly with our mission to inspire innovative and creative thinking and helps foster a deeper understanding of the world around us.” Plans by the partnership include an interactive, renewable energy installation designed by senior engineering students at IUPUI to support the museum’s educational mission. Uden states “By showcasing renewable energy technologies in action, we hope to encourage visitors to ask questions about renewable energies, consider the impact humans make on their environment, and foster innovative thinking in the next generation of engineers and problem solvers.”

Team EARTH member Sister Claire Whalen, a long-time advocate for renewable energy in southeast Indiana, sees great promise for clean energy use in our area. “I anticipate that installation of solar panels will attract the attention of parents who bring their children to Kids Discovery Factory and they may consider using clean energy for their homes.”

With the help of Team EARTH, Kids Discovery Factory is investigating the possibility of installing solar panels during their upcoming construction and renovation. Solar panels would connect with an on-site monitor to show incoming solar energy as the panels generate electricity for the building, allowing visitors to view the operation of solar panels in real time.

“Seeing is believing,” states Sister Claire. “Seeing that solar panels could reduce their utility bills and their carbon footprint over time may move people to become part of the solution to the climate crisis."

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