- Sponsorship -

Next project: energy savings

High school students pitch plans to convert to LED light fixtures

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the Project NEXT program at Forest Hills Northern High School recently shed some light on the energy costs of keeping outdated fluorescent lights burning in their classrooms, hallways and gymnasiums.

They discovered that for $78,000, the school could replace all of the outdated fixtures in their classrooms with LED light fixtures.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 told a group of school administrators and district advisers.

Project NEXT is a project-based learning program that began officially in 2018. Students in the program identify real-world problems and propose solutions.

Besides saving money, the 22 students in Austin Krieg’s 10th grade class also discovered research that shows students may learn better under the glow of LED lights.

Project NEXT students at Northern High School think their buildings could save energy and money by replacing the fluorescent light fixtures with LED fixtures

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 also looked at the hallways and gymnasiums, where the real energy hogs were hung from the rafters. They donned hardhats and work jackets to get a behind-the-scenes look at the school’s electrical boxes.

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

School officials and advisers were impressed and told the students they would look into using the district’s bond monies to get the fixtures replaced.

“I’ve done some energy audits for my buildings and I would hire you,” said restaurateur Johnny Brann, an adviser to the Project NEXT team. “You could incorporate this into the real world.”

 “We would see an immediate savings,” said Julie Davis, assistant superintendent for finance and operations. “We can allocate the money we spend on energy on the classrooms. We’re always looking for ways to save money operationally.”

Thalia Muniz, one of the presenters, said the project not only taught the class about energy savings, it also helped them hone their presentation skills. She said students worked on their slide presentation until the last minute to make sure it clearly showed the benefits of their proposals.

“It was really a learning thing on how to really propose an idea,” Thalia said.

- Sponsorship -
James Harger
James Harger
James Harger left School News Network in January of 2020. James previously reported on West Michigan's economy, courts and politics for The Grand Rapids Press and Mlive.com for more than 37 years. He also is employed as Servanthood Leader at Immanuel Lutheran Church in downtown Grand Rapids. A graduate of Central Michigan University, he also has worked for publications in Holland, Mount Pleasant and Lansing. He is married to Lisa and has one daughter, who lives in Ann Arbor.


Young constitutional scholars view current events, politics through historical lens

East Grand Rapids and East Kentwood high school We the People team members have qualified for the national competition, becoming well versed in civics and critical thinking along the way...

Rain gutter regatta showcases buoyancy, engineering skills

An annual boat race has become a highlight of sixth-grade science class. At stake: bragging rights and 'a goofy trophy'...

The Hood family: a school & community leadership dynasty

Five generations have lived within a five- to six-mile radius dating back to a government work program in the 1930s...

The sky’s the limit (or is it?) for this accomplished model builder

Creative, innovative, imaginative … Many of today’s students are all that and more in a vast variety of interest areas. This series features students with exceptional and unusual gifts...


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

Pen pals build bonds during remote learning

How does a teacher create get-to-know-you opportunities for her new class of third-grade distance learners?

Art with a fishy surprise

An art project demonstrates that what you see at first isn’t necessarily the whole picture...

Foundation grants $28,285 in fall funding requests

Virtual phys ed and art experiences, materials to improve classroom focus and books on social issues aimed at middle-schoolers are among the grants approved this fall...
- Sponsorship -


Engagement: The Most Important Measure of Student Success

Polls find that students’ engagement in their school work declines as they ascend the grades. Tests that don’t relate to their real-life experiences exacerbate the problem...


Food ‘angels’ support hungry kids through pandemic

They work all across Kent County, guardian angels with peanut butter on their hands and crumbs on their shirtsleeves...
- Sponsorship -


Maranda Where You LiveWGVU