Reduce the Juice has been designing and implementing community projects since 2004, but was officially incorporated in March 2006. RTJ has an extensive list of supporters and partners from our various projects.

Reduce the Juice has recently moved over to become a project of Tides Canada, a charitible NGO that provides innovative philanthropic, financial, and project management services for changemakers – philanthropists, foundations, activists, and civil organizations. It is a welcomed move that offers long-term support and access to resources as well as increases the capacity of RTJ while retaining all of the original values, mission and vision.

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RTJ is proud to have received awards for our work in the past. In 2005, RTJ was given a Certificate Of  Recognition from the Ontario Power Authority through their Chief Energy Conservation Officer, Peter Love. In 2006, the Ontario Energy Association awarded RTJ for our leadership in developing conservation and renewable energy knowledge and skills among students and in cultivating youth leaders and mentors within the community.

In April 2005, RTJ in conjunction with the teachers and students of Centre Dufferin District High School, installed a 1.5kW renewable energy system (wind-solar) on the roof of the school in Shelburne, ON. The students were involved in all aspects of construction and currently use the grid-connected system in many classes ranging from Physics to Business.  In the summer of 2005, RTJ employed two university students and four high school students to conduct a community outreach and engagement project in Shelburne. Residents were approached on the doorstep and asked to complete a survey and commit to a pledge to reduce their household energy use. The results showed a 78% participation rate and the overall Town’s electrical energy consumption was reduced by over 5% as verified by Hydro One.

A subsequent similar project was run in 2006 in Orangeville. A renewable energy trailer was constructed at Orangeville District Secondary School through their technical and design classes and Westside Secondary School was also involved in the construction of an RE project. The 1.1kW renewable energy trailer is still highly utilized, particularly in the summer as a educational tool for the community. Students from the town were hired (three university students, 12 high school students) to conduct an energy conservation community outreach project. By partnering with the University of Waterloo who provided expertise on program design and Orangeville Hydro we were able to visit 5500 homes and speak to hundreds at local community events (farmer’s market and various festivals). In homes that pledged, a significant decrease in energy use was noted in the months following the project and the project was given considerable coverage in the local media allowing for an even broader reach of the message.

Orangeville Hydro commissioned RTJ to run another energy conservation project in 2007 targeting small businesses. The team was smaller (two university students), but the results were significant. All of the small businesses were visited, over 20 received a full audit of their electrical use and 8 performed a full retrofit resulting in a yearly average savings of 90,000 kWh.  Although the Business Conservation Initiative focused on electricity conservation, it was a departure from our typical residential model and broadened the in house capabilities of staff to design new innovative projects.

In 2008, RTJ in partnership with the Region of Waterloo Public Health and other local partners delivered an Emissions Reduction project called “Driving Home an Emissions-Free Future”. The project employed 15 students over the summer to engage the citizens of Waterloo in emissions reduction strategies. The project yielded pledges to reduce personal emissions from transportation by over 1157 tonnes. At the beginning of 2008, Reduce the Juice approached the teachers, staff and students of Waterloo Collegiate Institute (WCI) and presented the challenge to design a build an altnernative fuel vehicle. With the help students from the University of Waterloo’s Alternative Fuels Team, the result was solar-electrical vehicle in the design of 1912 Model-T Ford delivery truck that has since participated in Waterloo Region’s Oktoberfest Parade.

RTJ extended it’s relationship with Waterloo Collegiate Institute in the same year and established a relationship with two local elementary schools to deliver anti-idling campaigns. The students of a grade 10 Sustainable Living class at WCI designed and delivered an Anti-idling Campaign with support and guidance from RTJ staff and teachers. The students then mentored the elementary students to design and deliver their own anti-idling campaigns. All of the school campaigns were a success and engaged students throughout the school, parents, neighbours, teachers and school staff. With the help of the City of Waterloo, RTJ installed permanent signs along the road, reminding motorists not to idle.

Upon the completion of the alternative fueled vehicle project, the same students in the after-school club began building bicycle electricity-generators with the support of Reduce the Juice, teachers and community volunteers. This project is ongoing and aims to have a series of 8-10 bikes completed to power a carbon-free concert at WCI, and will also act as an educational show piece to the community. It is expected to become an annual project to be intgrated into the cirriculum for junior-level technology classes at the school.

The summer of 2009, RTJ delivered another project in Waterloo Region and again, partnered with Public Health and other local partners. This followed the same project model as previous summers. The project employed 7 students and returned to the same community as the previous year. The students collected over 650 pledges, which translated to a savings of 625 tonnes of greenhouse gases per year.

The summer project of 2010 followed the RTJ model, but expanded the messaging to include water conservation along with electricity and transportation. Using the data calculated by Sustainable Waterloo, RTJ was able to correlate water useage in the Waterloo Region to greenhouse gas emissions. The project employed 6 students who collected over 550 pledges committing to a reduction of 350 tonnes of CO2.

In the most recent project at WCI, Reduce the Juice is working with a student group to install a solar system on the school to offset school electricity use and will be used as an educational tool. The students have been deeply involved in the process, including consulatations with school board officials, researching local solar manufacturers and running school-wide awareness campaigns. The solar system will be integrated into several school programs such as science, technology, geography, english, business and marketing. For more advanced courses, it will serve as a platform for future energy related system design and a hands-on technology lab for students interested in pursuing careers in the new green energy economy.

Lastly, RTJ has established an ongoing relationship with both University of Waterloo (UW) and Wilfred Laurier University (WLU)  researchers and professors. This relationship has been instrumental in informing project design and evaluating impact. Dr. Manuel Riemer of WLU and Dr. Jennifer Lynes of UW  have used the RTJ model as a successful case study in their research surrounding youth’s role in environmental change. This work, titled “Engaging Youth in Environmental Change: A Theoretical Framework” has been submitted for consideration in the journal of Environmental Education Research and is currently under peer-review.