APES winner takes steps toward conservation

Christina Liu, Web Asst. Editor

While solar panel electricity is one of the more recognized forms of renewable energy, this year’s AP Environmental Science class, Project Dynastep, decided to introduce the concept of piezoelectricity, power generated from pressure, ultimately earning first place.

“I think [we won because of] the uniqueness of our project; it’s never been introduced before. It’s so different and I think its just perfect for the present time,” Project Dynastep president Anne Shen said. “It educates students why they should join APES, and I feel like it’s an important indicator to help our environment.”

This annual project is assigned to all APES classes, with each group being given about five months to come up with a proposal that would solve an environmental issue and raise  money to make its plan a reality.

On May 22, each group selected a few students from their team to present their proposal before a panel of six judges.

“On presentation day it was very scary because we had six judges, and these were adults from very important fields,” senior Shen said.

Each group was graded based on how effectively they executed several categories, including creativity of the idea and process, effectiveness of the message, short term and long term effects of the project and the professionalism and clarity of the presentation.

Project Dynastep presented the idea of piezoelectric tiles, which upon being walked on would generate about 5 watts of electricity. The group is proposing that the tiles be installed at the entrance near the school office, on the double staircase and in the walkway between the choir room and 500 building.

Along with Project Dynastep there were 4 other different projects: Project Cyan, Project Flux, Project Low Flow Co. and Project Exstrawdinary.

For Project Cyan, students aimed to promote efficient irrigation to maintain plant life with less water. To accomplish this, students raised money to repair the broken sprinklers on campus to reduce the amount of water wasted. They also sought donations to purchase trees, each of which comes with a plaque displaying a message of the patron’s choice for $90.

On the other hand, Project Flux and Low Flow Co. aimed to promote water conservation. Flux installed new automatic sinks in the boys and girls restrooms of the 600 buildings. Unlike the old sinks that dispensed 2.2 gallons per minute, these sinks now dispense half a gallon per minute.

“Obviously we focus most on water conservation, but because you don’t have to pump them, it’s more sanitary, hands free and a lot more convenient,” Project Flux president junior Kyle Lew said.

Low Flow Co. decided to reduce water by changing the flush system of the toilets, installing a dual flush system into the toilets of the girl’s restrooms near the USB room as well as the restrooms by the lower lunch tables.

“With the flush system if you you flush up for No. 1, you use 1.2 gallons, and if you flush down for No. 2, it’ll use 1.6 gallons,” Low Flow Co. president senior Susie Pan said. “Currently our school’s toilets are kind of old so they use 1.8 gallons. So no matter which way we flush, we will save a little water.”

Project Exstrawdinary took a different approach, choosing to address the issue of non-degradable straws previously offered with DBHS’ school lunches. The group worked with Principal Reuben Jones and Assistant Principal David Hong to initiate the change of switching out the plastic straws for paper straws. In total, Exstrawdinary donated about 9,000 paper straws, with hopes that  the school will eventually transition to no straws at all.

“I think we are trying to just get students to be aware that everyday actions that seem normal can have consequences even if its not intentional, like the use of plastic straws,” Project Extrawdinary president senior Ellen Lasko said.