Energy Efficiency A High Schooler’s Way

At in life when many of us weren’t concerned with anything more than our social lives or our next test score, five students at West Branch High School in West Branch, Iowa, took it upon themselves to help curb their school’s energy usage–and proved so successful that they went on to help local businesses do the same.

According to the Alliance to Save Energy, it all started when David Fischer, Ryan O’Neil, Justin Roth, Sarah Fischer and Emily Corr noticed some significant ways that energy was being wasted at their school. They got together and formed a group called Total Energy Action Management (TEAM), with the goal of helping their cash-strapped school save money and reduce its environmental impact.

TEAM photo

image via TEAM

With a little help from faculty member Hector Ibarra, TEAM went on to have an energy assessment of their school conducted by a local professional–which found the potential for a whopping $10,000 in annual savings via energy-efficient improvements.  Based on the results of this assessment, the group zeroed in on recommendations for lowering West Branch’s electric bill–included up-grading to the latest energy-efficient fluorescents and wiring a new gym building to be solar-ready.

As a consequence, TEAM was awarded $10,000 in the Lexus Eco Challenge Air/Climate regional contest, which went to provide college scholarships for members (smart move, kids) and to establish a revolving loan fund for local businesses to upgrade to fluorescent lighting.

More about TEAM, along with “Fischer’s recommendations for saving energy at school,” is available on the group’s website.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.