Ellen Fitzgerald, Aoife Dolan and Niamh Nyhan, three students from Sacred Heart Secondary School in Clonakilty were the winners of the International Environment and Sustainability Project Olympiad (INESPO) Award at the SciFest@SFI Discover national final for their project which looked at the use of a more energy efficient type of street light. SciFest is an all-island science initiative, which fosters active, collaborative and inquiry-based learning among second level students. This year saw a record number of over 6,000 students exhibiting their projects in local and regional science fairs across the country.
Ellen, Aoife and Niamh were one of six science, technology, engineering and maths projects to compete for the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland’s INESPO Award at the national final held at the Marino Conference Centre in Dublin earlier this month. The students’ prize includes an all-expenses-paid trip, with their teacher, to the Netherlands, to represent Ireland at the INESPO competition next June.
The INESPO competition took place in parallel with the national final for the overall winners from the 15 regional SciFest science fairs which took place earlier in the year. The Clonakilty girls went on to win the award which was presented to them by Aoife Cannon, Education Programme Executive, Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).
Discovering that there are an estimated 400,000 street lights in Ireland the students realised that the cost of street lighting throughout country must be very expensive. Realising that LED bulbs are much more energy efficient than the bulbs currently used in street lamps they set out to design an LED bulb that could be screwed directly into the standard street lamp fitting. As well as being more energy efficient, the LED bulb has a much longer life expectancy, thus cutting down on checking and replacement costs.