Juniors launch LED lighting project for community

When two juniors heard about a way to solve a community issue while creating an eco-friendly investment, they couldn’t wait to get involved and take charge. For the last couple of months, juniors Harrison Redfern and William Lynch have been working to convert the Iowa Heartland Habitat for Humanity Restore to one hundred percent LED lighting, a fast growing “green” trend that reduces carbon emissions. 

For Redfern, the opportunity seemed too important to pass up. “Will and I were approached by a family friend of Will’s who had an idea for a project like this. After examining what the project would entail and the benefits that it has, it became blatantly obvious that I had to do it. It will have long lasting effects on the community that will still be around even after I leave high school,” Redfern said. “It was the long lasting impact that really made me want to get involved.”

Lynch had similar motives for getting involved. “I wanted to start this project because other than being a great opportunity for us to earn scholarships and other recognition, it really helps out the community. This project can really help out those in need and is a good way for us to give back to the community,” Lynch said. 

LED lighting is growing as an eco-friendly lighting option, 80 percent more efficient than the conventional lightbulb. They also have a higher lifetime and are much more energy efficient. Switching to LED lighting in the Habitat for Humanity Restore will reduce carbon emissions by 44 percent. 

Although the task seems simple, the two high school students have faced their fair share of obstacles. Redfern said that overcoming social barriers was difficult at first. “We have encountered many obstacles in this project. One of the biggest ones is just figuring out what to do. It seems that so many people our age are afraid to order a pizza and small social tasks like that. Pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone, calling people we don’t know, asking random people for support and overcoming the fear of that support being rejected is probably our biggest challenge so far. Overcoming it is easier said than done. It really came down to just taking a deep breath and putting yourself out there,” Redfern said. 

Besides being comfortable with the nature of the job, Lynch said that the pandemic has also presented new challenges. “One of the most major obstacles that we’ve had to hurdle has been the COVID-19 pandemic. This has led to some delays and fewer in-person meetings, but we’ve been able to overcome it by using online resources such as Zoom calls and phone call meetings instead of meeting in-person,” Lynch said. 

Lifelong friends, both Lynch and Redfern credit the nature of their success to the dynamic of their partnership. “Will and I work very well together. I have known Will for as long as I can remember. We both hold up our ends of the project very well, and when we sit down together we can get a lot done,” Redfern said. 

“It works out very well because we are able to check each other and make sure we put the best versions of our project out there. For example, when we type out an important document, we are able to catch things and bring new ideas that wouldn’t be possible with just one person,” Lynch said. 

In addition to providing energy efficient lighting, the LED lighting also offers an economical opportunity, according to Lynch and Redfern. “It is more of an investment. We aren’t raising money to simply donate to Habitat. We are finding donors who want to invest in their community. That’s what it comes down to. Every donation will multiply nearly five times throughout the lifetime of the new lighting,” Redern said. “All of that money will go straight back into the pockets of Iowa Heartland Habitat for Humanity for them to continue the incredible work that they are doing. It’s also saving energy and good for the environment. A win across all categories.”

After completing the project at the Habitat for Humanity Restore, the pair hopes to expand LED lighting to more areas in the Cedar Valley. “The goal for this project is to fully convert the Iowa Heartland Habitat for Humanity ReStore to LED; however, we aren’t going to end after that. We have many ideas for the next step after the conversion, such as helping out low-income households convert to LED,” Lynch said. 

“Our goal with this project is, of course, to help Iowa Heartland Habitat save a bunch of money. Beyond that, however, a major goal of mine is to help LED Brighter Communities grow. This is one of the earliest projects for the nonprofit, and after it is done, I look forward to using the success story to expand the good we can do,” Redfern said. 


Visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-led-bc-convert-the-ihhh-restore-to-led to donate.


More Information on LED Brighter Communities can be found at ledbc.org

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.