Sacred Heart Clonakilty students win major international award

Three secondary school students from Sacred Heart Secondary School, Clonakilty, Co. Cork have won an International Sustainability Award for their research into LED street lights.

Ellen Fitzgerald, Aoife Dolan and Niamh Nyhan, from Sacred Heart Secondary School, Clonakilty, (pictured on right) won the SEAI-sponsored INESPO Award at the SciFest@SFIDiscover national final in November 2014.

They represented Ireland at the seventh annual International Environment and Sustainability Project Olympiad (INESPO) in Amsterdam beating off competition from 47 other countries to take the top spot.

They set out to design an LED bulb that could be screwed directly into the standard street lamp fitting to replace the less-efficient bulbs currently used.

As well as being more energy efficient, the LED bulb has a much longer life expectancy, thus cutting down on checking and replacement costs.

The LED street light bulb that they developed works on the principal of using a fraction of the energy required to power a standard bulb while being able to screw directly into the standard street light fitting. As well as being more energy efficient the bulb also has a longer life expectancy, cutting down on the costs associated with maintenance and replacement.

“The students really developed their project since their win at SciFest 2014 and it shows that when students engage with STEM outside the classroom, they bring their learning to a new level and produce amazing results,” said SciFest CEO, Sheila Porter. “Ellen, Aoife and Niamh have done Ireland proud and with the cost savings that can be made by using their LED lightbulbs there is a great opportunity for us all to be more aware of the energy we use in our homes or businesses.”

“The standard of projects at INESPO 2015 was extremely high and SEAI is so proud of Ellen, Aoife and Niamh’s achievement,” said Aoife Cannon, education programme executive, SEAI. “They represented Ireland at the highest level and won!

Their LED lightbulb is such a clever idea, and highlights how their generation is already thinking about ways of becoming more energy efficient and I am sure that they will help to positively shape Ireland’s sustainable energy future.”

Pictured above Front row (left to right) Niamh Nyhan, Aoife Dolan and Ellen Fitzgerald. Back row Brendan Walsh, Ann Marie Brosnan, Una Mayock and Claire Holland (teachers).