Cocoa, Fla. -- Students at Emma Jewel Charter Academy now have a hands-on opportunity to study alternative energy and sustainability with the installation of an on-campus smartflower solar energy unit. The Mohawk Group initiative is part of the flooring manufacturer’s “handprinting” strategy to give more back to humankind and to the environment than it takes during its manufacturing processes.

For this project, Mohawk Group partnered with Brevard Public Schools, Stratica Group, Space Coast Strategy, Sunrise Systems of Brevard and Suncatch Energy. The smartflower technology was unveiled at a special ribbon-cutting ceremony and reception on Sept. 27 at Emma Jewel Charter Academy.

The goal of the smartflower program is to place these devices in underserved communities near educational institutions with STEM curricula. The solar energy unit in Florida is the fourth of ten smartflowers across the U.S. to be established by Mohawk Group. Others have been installed in Chicago; Eden, North Carolina; and Griffin, Georgia.

“The most valuable resource we have today are these children and many of the jobs they are training for don’t yet exist,” said George Bandy Jr., chief sustainability officer of Mohawk Flooring North America. “Our commitment is not only to Mother Nature but to these young leaders who need to know that somebody cares. This donation and this means of handprinting is about celebrating the next generation that is poised to change the world.”

Emma Jewel Charter Academy was chosen as the recipient of the smartflower through a special competition coordinated by Mohawk Group. Located in Cocoa’s Diamond Square Redevelopment District, the school was awarded the technology because of its ongoing implementation of comprehensive sustainable practices and desire to be the foundation for change in the greater Cocoa community.

“Since its opening in 2013, Emma Jewel Charter Academy has been committed to educating our scholars on the importance of health and nutrition by understanding the food we consume. By partnering with Mohawk, we hope to increase the amount of clean energy usage and simultaneously promote a healthy environment,” said Thomas Cole, principal of Emma Jewel Charter Academy. “We will use the smartflower donated by Mohawk to assist with reducing the energy consumption in our school, primarily the cafeteria. It is our belief that this will initiate other clean energy efforts in the school and in the community we serve.”

The solar energy collaboration was created to reduce Mohawk’s greenhouse gas emissions and offset energy and resources used during the manufacturing of a selection of Living Product Challenge Petal certified floor coverings in Mohawk’s growing carbon-neutral portfolio. Each smartflower optimizes the generation of solar energy using modular petal-shaped panels that autonomously follow the sun. By following the sun’s rays, the units generate 40% more energy than static solar panels.

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