K-12 Education

Solar One’s Education Program promotes experiential learning opportunities through science, technology and design. Solar One’s programs increase environmental knowledge while fostering sustainable behaviors and stewardship. Using the urban environment as a laboratory, Solar One’s programs introduce K-12 students to hands-on real world experience and support the development of creative thinking and problem solving skills.

In April 2011, Solar One was named an official partner in PlaNYC 2030, New York City’s ambitious agenda for city-wide energy savings and sustainability, due to our city-wide K-12 sustainability education programs, particularly the Green Design Lab™.

Solar One’s Education program provides dynamic sustainability lessons focused on environmental literacy, renewable energy, and actions students can take that will have an immediate, tangible effect to improve their urban environment. Working with hundreds of schools and community organizations in all five boroughs, Solar One provides K-12 Education through the Green Design Lab™ and also

offers professional development workshops for teachers seeking training on teaching sustainability and starting school greening programs.

As a result of Solar One education programs, students understand their role in reducing New York’s carbon footprint and making it a healthier, greener city. Many schools have reduced their energy use and costs through the Green Design Lab™, with some schools achieving energy reductions of more than 10%.

In 2011, Solar One reached 5,471 students at 52 schools, and trained 251 teachers in professional development workshops.


Solar One’s Education program began developing the Green Design Lab™ in 2009 with the help of a teacher at Manhattan Comprehensive Night & Day High School who wanted to bring greening projects into his school. Inquiries from other teachers during that time inspired our staff to create a full Green Design Lab™ curriculum, which has run in over 30 schools since its pilot. From all Education programs, we receive overwhelmingly positive feedback from teachers. In an anonymous teacher survey of the Green Design Lab™ schools, with 80% response rate, 100% of teachers surveyed said they would recommend the program to other schools.

More reactions from teachers:

  • “You can get mad and say nothing is ever going to change, or you can put up signs and start working to make the change you want to see.”
  • “Young people can discover the value of conserving energy and ‘thinking green.'”
  • “One person can make a huge difference”
  • “Using science to understand our environment helps us make informed decisions to benefit people and the environment.”