By Jordan Freisleben
The school reduced its electricity consumption over 13 percent as part of the “Lights Out H-W” campaign.
Jessica Barzilay â12 started the initiative to improve Harvard-Westlakeâs performance in the Green Cup Challenge, a nationwide competition for schools to reduce their energy sue.
The first Green Cup challenge concluded on Feb. 22 and consisted of two major components: reducing electricity used by lights and computers.
“The 13 percent reduction represents a reduction of 34,552.57 pounds of carbon dioxide,” Jessica Barzilay â12 said.”In addition to [the schoolâs] successful conservation effort, the Green Cup Challenge also succeeded in raising awareness within our school community of the climate crisis facing the world and especially our generation.”
In addition to leading the project, Barzilay performed the required electricity meter readings each week with English teacher and environmental club adviser Martha Wheelock.
“After all of the time and energy put into registering the school and launching Lights Out H-W, seeing my idea realized and executed was a truly amazing experience,” she said. “The ability to physically measure and calculate the schoolâs reduction was an intensely gratifying experience, but the overwhelmingly positive response from the school community was the most rewarding of all.”
Math teacher Catherine Campbell made a conscious effort to check the schedule and turn off lights in classrooms if no class followed hers. She only turned on lights for her first period class and turned them off for the rest of the day.
“It was nice to see the kids take responsibility and turn the computers off themselves,” math teacher Paula Evans said.
However, not all members of the faculty and student body felt as enthusiastic as Evans did about the eco-friendly program.
Many members of the English department felt inconvenienced by the lack of light in their classrooms, English teacher Geri Harding said.
“If I canât see, I canât save the environment,” English teacher Lisa Rado said.
But Barzilay said she received mostly positive feedback from faculty about the program.
“Students and teachers alike approached me to proudly report that they had turned off the lights in their English class or elected to teach a class in the dark,” Barzilay said. “Some teachers even told me that they were now going to print class handouts double-sided, which was really great to hear.”