Sacred Heart win INESPO
Pictured (l-r): Aoife Dolan, Ellen Fitzgerald and Niamh Nyhan from Sacred Heart Secondary School, Clonakilty in Cork. Image via Naoise Culhane

Irish students’ bright LED idea wins international prize

5 Jun 2015

Ellen Fitzgerald, Aoife Dolan and Niamh Nyhan from Sacred Heart Secondary School, Clonakilty, Cork fought off competition from 47 other countries to win the grand prize for their efficient LED concept at the seventh annual International Environment and Sustainability Project Olympiad (INESPO) held in Amsterdam.

The event took place between 1 to 5 June and brought students from across the world together to develop innovative energy efficiency technologies.

The three Irish girls’ project was focused on tackling the issue of energy efficiency for one of the most energy-consuming parts of infrastructure — street lighting.

The trio discovered that there are an estimated 400,000 street lights in Ireland and the cost of maintaining these street lights is on average €40m per annum.

Realising that LED bulbs are much more energy efficient that the bulbs currently used in street lamps, they set out to design an LED bulb that could be screwed directly into the standard street-lamp fitting.

With this simple concept, the team believe that, as well as being more energy efficient, the LED will drastically cut down on checking and replacement costs as the bulb has a much longer life expectancy than those used in standard street lighting.

The Sacred Heart students had made their way to the competition in Amsterdam following their win at the SciFest@SFIDiscover national final here in November last year.

CEO of SciFest Sheila Porter said: “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. Ellen, Aoife and Niamh have done Ireland proud and with the cost savings that can be made by using their LED light bulbs there is a great opportunity for us all to be more aware of the energy we use in our homes or businesses.”

Inspirefest 2015 is Silicon Republic’s international event running 18-20 June in Dublin that connects sci-tech professionals passionate about the future of STEM with fresh perspectives on leadership, innovation and diversity.

Women Invent is Silicon Republic’s campaign to champion the role of women in science, technology, engineering and maths. It has been running since March 2013, and is kindly supported by Accenture Ireland, Intel, the Irish Research Council, ESB, Twitter, CoderDojo and Science Foundation Ireland.

Colm Gorey
By Colm Gorey

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic. He joined in January 2014 and covered AI, IoT, science and anything that will get us to Mars quicker. When not trying to get his hands on the latest gaming release, he can be found lost in a sea of Wikipedia articles on obscure historic battles and countries that don't exist any more, or watching classic Simpsons episodes far too many times to count.

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