A research project headed up by four William Floyd High School students became a lesson in energy conservation for 700 middle school students and could be expanded to other schools around the Island.
Under the guidance of research teacher Amy Meyer, the students — seniors Marleen Rios, 18, and Samantha DeStefano, 17, and freshmen Numaira Khan, 14, and Grace Jaronczyk, 14 — sought to help students and their families understand energy waste and its cost.
The project -- which was entered by the Mastic Beach high school into the Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge on Tuesday -- centered on using the Energy UFO iPad application and the UFO Power Center power strip to measure “phantom load” energy, or electricity that is consumed when household items are off or on standby.
The project, a partnership with the Green Schools Network and sponsored by Brookhaven National Laboratory’s LI STEM Hub Regional Industry Council for Energy and Environment, could serve as an example for other Long Island districts to emulate, said Meyer, William Floyd’s STEM enrichment teacher.
“These four ladies are actually leaders in the first project of its kind,” she said. “The students are educating not only their peers and other students, but also the community.”
On Feb. 25, the students, along with fellow research students, presented the device and survey they created to 700 William Floyd Middle School sixth- and seventh-graders for them to bring home.
DeStefano, of Shirley, said the middle school students were asked to collect data to bring back. At home, students learned about the project and device, and helped educate their parents about energy waste.
Meyer said the data that came back by the March 4 deadline for the Siemens contest showed that the households of some middle school students in the area could be saving as much as $200 a year just by unplugging items not in use.
Grace Jaronczyk, one of the researchers, of Mastic, said that even an everyday item such as a coffeemaker or alarm clock that constantly draws energy can unnecessarily increase an energy bill by hundreds of dollars.
“We learned so much from the project and we’re so glad we’re helping families with becoming more conscious of energy sustainability,” she added. “We just tell everyone to try to remember to unplug things after they use them. You’ll save so much in the long run.”