A school contest to conserve electricity resulted in a nearly $63,000 savings for the school system this spring.
More than 85 percent of the savings came from the Greenbrier schools complex, which was overseen by Greenbrier's Tylah Hankerson, who graduated this year.
"I just kind of told a few teachers what we were trying to do and it started to spread by word of mouth," said the 17-year-old.
Tylah belonged to the Superintendent's Student Advisory Committee, which chose energy conservation as its project last school year. She was responsible for instituting an energy-saving plan at Greenbrier High, Greenbrier Middle and Greenbrier Elementary as part of a contest to see which school could save the most.
Schools that produced a savings on their electrical bills between January and May were given back 5 percent of those savings by the school board. The top high school, top middle school and top elementary school also were given a $500 reward.
The Greenbrier schools easily outpaced their competitors.
Greenbrier High showed a savings of more than $29,000, while Greenbrier Middle saved about $14,520 and Greenbrier Elementary saved more than $10,200 when compared to the electrical costs from the 2008 second semester.
"That's amazing," said Assistant Superintendent Robert Jarrell. "Those numbers were verified and checked through Georgia Power. That complex just really had a major reduction."
Jarrell wasn't the only one awed by the final tally.
"I was very surprised," Tylah said. "I never expected it to be anything that big."
Tylah's plan was simple, she said.
The rising freshman at Georgia State University said she asked teachers and administrators to turn off lights in rooms when they were not in use and to turn off computers on weekends.
"That's all there was to it," she said. "It was just about being responsible."
That sense of responsibility has seeped into her personal life.
"I used to be pretty bad about leaving lights on and my computer on all day and all night," Tylah confessed. "I don't do that anymore, and I encourage my friends to do the same."
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