Peter Hood, GBP Student
As soon as I walked into room 728 on the 21st of October, I knew it was going to be a monumental day in my high school career. I finally got to combine my two loves for math and the Earth into one class activity. In preparation for this once in a lifetime activity, I went right home from school the night before and studied up on the whole operation behind Solarize Needham on solarizeneedham.org. I also dug through my AP Statistics notebook in order to be absolutely prepared to conquer any given math thrown my way by the math legend himself: Mr. O.
The main idea behind the big push for Solarize Needham is, “In addition to significantly saving money on your utility bill you will be helping your community’s local economy, promoting the use of sustainable energy and helping the planet reduce it’s overall carbon footprint!” (solarizeneedham.org). Our main goal in class was to explore the cultural change and subsequent paradigm shift that has influenced the Solarize Needham initiative.
After we were fatefully directed into our working teams based on the shapes on our grouping cards, all of us students were immediately engaged in the classwork, starting to converse about the perks of “Solarizing Needham.” Our conversations started to lead to overall ideas about cultural change regarding going solar. It seems that the big push for going solar is happening with everyone trying to “save the planet” and “be green;” it’s kind of become a sin nowadays to not be environmentally friendly. I think Needham, in particular, wants other towns around us to see that we are taking the effort to saving a lot of energy. Being energy proficient has started to become a fashionable thing, and Needham is no exception!
Once we finished discussing our initial ideas in class, I finally had the opportunity to put my math skills to the test. Comparing percentages of single family homes who solarized and average family incomes for all of the towns, we were able to compare data and analyze data (two of my favorite things). We ended up finding things like the z-score (observation-mean/standard deviation), and regression of the different towns that are trying to solarize. We had to find these factors in order to analyze and interpret the data correctly. We chose to examine the percentage of single family homes with solar power with average family income because we expected that the higher the average income of families, the higher percentage of single family homes with solar power would be likely. After calculations, we concluded that there was no correlation between income and percentage of single family homes with solar power.
This was surprising to me: if people had the money to pay for solar power, why were they participating just as much as families with a lower income? I think Solarize Needham is a great way of saving energy and money, benefiting our community here as a whole. It really pains me to see a lack of people participating in it. Families with a higher income see solar power as a necessary process to take on if they could just pay their regular electrical bills with no problem. On the other hand, families with lower income aren’t able to pay for this adaption to society. This interesting day in GBP really strengthened my belief in going solar overall. I believe that saving energy and money would be two things I would take pride in once I become a homeowner myself. In about ten years you will find me lounging on the balcony of my mansion, overlooking my gorgeous solar panels lighting up my roof.
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