High school looks at reducing footprint

The Environment Club at Hunting Hills High School is continuing work on a project to get solar panels installed on the school.

Hunting Hills would be the first school in Red Deer to boast solar panels and staff coordinator Dean Johnston said it would be an exciting accomplishment.

“The Club was originally started just to make the school more environmentally friendly with simple things like anti-idling and garbage pickup,” said Johnston.

The Club has done studies on the electricity used at the school including how to have a big impact on consumption by making small changes in the daily routines including TV, computer and monitor usage.

“The purpose of installing solar panels is to reduce the school’s environmental footprint by reducing the amount of green house gases released into the atmosphere,” said Johnston.

The Club has raised close to $3,000 to date but is looking to raise more awareness and funds to install a 7.05 kilowatt panel for a cost of $43,000.

The Environmental Club has previously looked at the cafeteria at the school to find ways to use dishes that are more eco-friendly and biodegradable.

“The club has thought about solar panels before and we talked about it and thought it would be a good project for the kids to work towards,” said Johnston.

Johnston said the Club has been applying for grants and seeking donations locally by having the student leadership group make presentations regarding the research they’ve done as well as past projects.

Nikita-Kiran Singh, student leader, has been with the Club since the beginning of the project and said it’s an exciting time.

“I think that by being the first school in Red Deer to do something like this that it would be a good role model for the community and generate a lot of interest in alternative energy,” said Singh.

She said she feels it is important to support anything that looks at lowering society’s negative impact on the environment.

Singh said by doing the presentations to companies in the area they hope to receive monetary donations or professional services to help with the project.

“We give them a bit of background on the Club and what we aim to do at the school. Then we talk about what we’ve done so far with the solar project and what we’re hoping to accomplish,” said Singh.

She said it is important for anyone who wants to be involved to get involved.

Johnston said the students have done a lot of research and know a lot about the benefits of solar power as well as what changes it would make to the electricity consumption at the school.

“The students are aware that the amount of money for the panels is not really cost efficient but it is a good thing because it will cut down on greenhouse gas emissions and that is the primary goal,” said Johnston.

Johnston said the 15 students that are involved with the Club are very committed and enthusiastic. He said the fact that they come out every week to the Club meetings shows their desire to try and make a difference in peoples’ environmental habits.

“We don’t have a goal date but the students are dedicated to making these changes. We will take however long it takes.”

To make a donation contact Dean Johnston, Nancy Vanderwater or Adam Milner at Hunting Hills High School.