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School News Network: Forest Hills Northern H.S. Project NEXT

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Forest Hills students recently took being green into their own hands, informing school officials they could offset significant energy costs.

Students in the Project NEXT program at Forest Hills Northern High School recently shed some light on the energy costs of keeping outdated fluorescent lights burning in their classrooms, hallways and gymnasiums.

They discovered that for $78,000, the school could replace all of the outdated fixtures in their classrooms with LED light fixtures. The project would pay for itself in less than four years, they recently told a group of school administrators and district advisers.

And besides saving money, students also discovered research that shows they may learn better under the glow of LED lights.

Project NEXT is a project-based learning program at Northern High. Students in the program identify real-world problems and propose solutions.

The students presented their findings after a six-week study in which they audited every light fixture in the building and calculated the cost of operation.

They determined that every classroom in the high school cost the district $245.53 per year to illuminate. They looked at the hallways and gymnasiums too, where the real energy hogs are hung from the rafters.

The students also consulted with Consumers Energy to identify rebates and incentives the utility could offer the school to reduce the cost of replacing the fixtures.

School officials said they will look into using the district’s bond monies to get the fixtures replaced.

I’m Morgan Jarema For School News Network.