MODESTO -- Modesto's newest and largest high school also is the most energy-efficient, Gregori students were surprised to learn but the Jaguars can do better, they said.
Teens from the Gregori Global Club and the advanced placement environmental science class were trained last week in testing energy use and efficiency. Next, they aim to put that awareness to work.
"There are so many lights. Not all of them are necessary all the time, especially after school," senior Elvira Morales said Wednesday at a meeting of the Global Club.
Actually, classrooms could operate with about half the illumination they do, Rajman Randhawa said. Rajman, a senior, used a light meter to check illumination levels.
The worst light waste he found: hallways. They are lighted to about 160 footcandles when 10 to 20 would do, according to the Project HEAT guide.
The teens trained as a Chevron Hands-on Environmental Assessment Team (HEAT), then fanned out to assess campus power usage. Liza Wood of Chevron Energy Solutions confirmed that Gregori's energy use per square foot is the lowest among Modesto City's high schools.
But with a schoolwide electric bill of $250,000 per year, the teens see plenty of room for improvement.
Rajman wants to see solar panels on those heat-reflecting white roofs.
Global Club President Cheyenne Warren wants motion detectors on hallway lights so they'll turn off when foot traffic walks out at the school day's end. All those charging computers and sleeping pencil sharpeners that sit, sipping current overnight, need to be unplugged, she said.
The club plans to experiment on various energy savings and present its findings to the global-studies teachers at Gregori, and spread the word among all the clubs they're in.
"We realized we need to get more involved," Elvira said. Club members collect and sort recycling for the school, but they need to expand those horizons, she said.
The club trekked to Monterey in the spring to chart sand crab populations for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration last spring and continues to fund-raise for a well in Africa.
Club co-adviser and science teacher Katie Merenda said she sees that global sensibility throughout her science classes.
"They're all environmentally aware. They've been born into the green revolution," Merenda said. The technology revolution is old hat to them.
"They're really the champions of sustainability it is their future," she said.
To donate to the Gregori fund-raiser, visit http://thewaterproject.org/
Bee education reporter Nan Austin can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2339.