The Vermont Energy Education Program (VEEP) has partnered with Vermont Gas to update its Button Up in-class workshop, giving middle and high school students a hands-on way to learn about thermal energy by exploring the effects of home weatherization. For students living in towns served by Vermont Gas, VEEP educators will bring the workshop to their classrooms at no cost. The partnership is all about increasing energy literacy among young Vermonters and increasing awareness of the importance of energy efficiency.

The workshop was partially funded by Vermont Gas, which provides a clean, reliable and affordable energy choice to over 50,000 customers in Chittenden and Franklin counties. The Company will soon serve families and businesses in Addison County.

“VEEP is delighted to see Vermont Gas expand its efforts to include helping its young customers understand how to reduce their use of heating fuel and decrease the amount of money spent on energy,” said Cara Robechek, VEEP’s executive director.

“We believe the cleanest and most affordable energy is the one we don’t use, that’s why we work so hard to help our customers reduce their energy needs through our award-winning efficiency programs,” said Don Rendall, President and CEO of Vermont Gas. “Working with the folks at VEEP to teach young Vermonters how to reduce their energy consumption and become more efficient is an important part of our work to build a cleaner energy future.”

In the two-hour workshop, students are asked to consider how they can use less energy to heat their home while still keeping it at a comfortable temperature. They explore different insulation and air-sealing materials as well as data from model houses. High school students even take on a home heating challenge where they play the role of new homeowners, researching and “purchasing” weatherization improvements.

“I love that there is a real-life application to the core idea of thermal energy,” said Jess Angell, VEEP director of curriculum and education. “I also love that it is an application that is meaningful to the current energy and climate issues in Vermont with an emphasis on ways students can make a difference.”

In addition to updating the workshop, the staff at VEEP have created a workshop extension for grades 6–8, challenging middle school students to design, construct, and test a model house with the goal of making it as efficient to heat as possible. VEEP educators can support teachers in leading this extension or other lessons on energy to fit with their curriculum.

For more information on VEEP’s statewide in-class workshops, curricula, professional development for teachers, and other hands-on energy education programs, visit You can also contact Cara Robechek at 802-552-VNRG or e-mail to schedule a local VEEP educator for your school.