New gym lighting provides greener environment

By By Julia Gray, Staff Writer

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Due to insufficient lighting in the gym, CHS replaced the old gym lights with new environmentally-friendly and energy-efficient lights Aug. 20. CHS employed an outside contractor from MCPS to install the new lights for the 2010-2011 school year in an effort to make the school more eco-friendly.
The gym lighting, which had been a constant issue in previous years at CHS, was deemed unsafe for the athletes practicing in the gym and in constant need of change because the light bulbs died out frequently.
“Compared to the old lighting, these lights help athletes’ performance [and benefit] spectators,” athletic director David Kelley said. “[They are] a massive improvement.”
Previously, athletes’ safety was at a higher risk because the dull lighting  caused shadows that could have affected their performance. In addition to the risk, the lights had to be left on all day because the amount of time it took for the lights to warm up wasted both energy and money. The new lights address both of those concerns.
 “They turn on and off right away so we can turn them off in between classes which leads to further [energy] saving,” Kelley said. “[They are] 50 percent more efficient [and] they cost less because they use less wattage.”

The idea for the new lights originally came from Kelley and Business Manager James Shovlin, who both felt that the lighting was poor and inefficient.
“[We] complained about the poor lighting to MCPS who did an assessment of [the] lighting and agreed that [it] was inadequate,” Kelley said. “[They were] starting to put energy-efficient lights in elementary and middle schools, so we requested [that they] put them in here.”

The new lights will also save money for CHS because the bulbs use less wattage, and therefore less energy.
The lights may also improve CHS school dances. Students have previously complained that dances were not as enjoyable because the lights had to be kept on at all times, but the new lights can be kept off for longer periods of time.
“Now more students will come,” Principal Joan Benz said, “Everyone felt that the dance was better [this year] because it wasn’t as bright.”
Churchill Green’s president junior Will Mulhern supports the new gym lighting and believes that this change is a step in achieving the club’s overall goal.
The Environmental Club also works closely with the athletic department to help out after games by picking up and recycling plastic bottles as well as talking to computer science teachers to make sure they turn off all of their computers at the end of the day to save energy.

“[We want] to go beyond CHS,” president of the Environmental Club senior Renee Han said. “We’re trying to get the word out; every small thing can make a difference.”