The Student News Site of Lake Forest High School

The Forest Scout

The Student News Site of Lake Forest High School

The Forest Scout

The Student News Site of Lake Forest High School

The Forest Scout

Polls

Which senior superlative best describes you?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Powering Tomorrow: Why LFHS Needs a Solar Roof

Graphic+by+Ella+Droege
Graphic by Ella Droege

In today’s age of climate change awareness, renewable energy innovations, and environmental protests, the question of our sustainability as a school has never been more pressing.

Our school’s sustainability practices have already come into question. For example, the merit of our school’s recycling program. Other suggestions have been made, for example, composting, energy saving appliances/lights, and reducing trash production in places such as the cafeteria. 

However, there are drawbacks to many of the eco-conscious solutions students and community members have recommended.

While composting would provide us with rich and nutritious soil for landscaping, it is difficult on a large scale. Space would be needed to house a compost bin with the capacity to accommodate food and organic waste from a building with over 1400 students. Someone would need to “turn” the compost, and contamination would be an issue as there are plenty of things that cannot be put into the compost. Meat, bones, dairy, cooked foods, oil/fats, plastic, metal, glass, and other materials can all be detrimental to the success of the compost.

Composting would also have a minimal environmental benefit when compared to successfully implemented solar panels. The main value earned from composting is the decrease of waste being sent to landfills.

Increasing the rate in which we recycle has also been suggested. While this would lower the volume of trash entering landfills like composting, recycling only works when the people recycling are doing it correctly. I often notice students putting trash in the recycling bin and recycling in the trash bin. Even when people take the effort to recycle, sometimes they do it incorrectly. Commonly mis-recycled items include used pizza boxes, single-use and compostable coffee cups/lids, tissues/napkins, plastic bags, and plastic cutlery.

Greenability Magazine

However, it is not like the school has done nothing. The school has two green roofs, but they have since fallen into disrepair due to the lack of maintenance. In the recently passed referendum, administrators claim that there will be the possibility of the installation of photovoltaic solar panels. 

With a total of $105,674,869 approved for the referendum, surely we can find an area to budget a solar roof in. 

Alternatively, we could attempt to get a grant or community support to lighten the cost of the solar roof.

District 115 Referendum

Solar roofs are initially a costly investment, but they offer substantial financial and environmental benefits in the long run. By generating renewable energy on site, we can reduce our reliance on traditional energy sources and free up funds in other areas. 

Using Google’s Project Sunroof, a solar roof on our school building would cover 93,694 square feet, cost around $18,000 and pay itself back in nine years. Its installment would cover 97% of our school’s electricity usage, saving us $16,000 over 20 years.

Roper Roofing

Of course, the benefits of a potential solar roof extend beyond our school. By decreasing our reliance on fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions, we are able to contribute to the broader global effort to combat climate change.

Local schools, such as Stevenson, New Trier, and Libertyville, have made great strides in their efforts to be “green.” In 2021, Stevenson’s East Building addition became the first building in Illinois to be verified to have net zero energy. The addition also has a two floor “green wall” and its solar array generates more energy than it consumes. It is estimated that the school saves about $65,000 annually on electric avoidance due to the solar array. The Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation’s $1 million grant funded the array. 

New Trier was awarded LEED Gold by the US Green Building Council for their Winnetka athletic campus and the West side facilities (Northfield). Libertyville has incorporated programs such as LEAF, which engages students in environmental and sustainability education.

In a world where environmental obstacles loom, every action counts. If our school can embrace sustainable habits like those around us, we too can leave a legacy that shines brightly for generations to come. 

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Forest Scout
$700
$800
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Lake Forest High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Ella Droege
Ella Droege, Staff Writer
Senior Ella Droege is ready to get started as a first-year writer for The Forest Scout. In her free time, she is captain for the girls ice hockey team, plays lacrosse, is a member of Link Crew, and is involved with Scout Buddies.
Donate to The Forest Scout
$700
$800
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Forest Scout Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *