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Laura (16), a year 12 pupil at St Kevins College, won the top award at the Central South Island science and technology fair in Timaru this week for her project on "greener bulbs".
The annual fair attracted more than 250 entries from school pupils from Ashburton to North Otago.
Laura won the senior category, for year 11-13 pupils, and then the overall award.
Following publicity about energy efficient bulbs, she decided to investigate which brand of light-bulb was the most energy efficient and had the least impact on the native environment, and common technological devices.
She came up with methods to test three areas - how light efficient they were, mercury content, and how they interfered with radio signals.
She tested four brands of energy efficient bulbs and then compared them to an ordinary 100-watt bulb.
The Ecobulb brand was the most energy efficient brand of the four she tested.
She found the compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) were better for the environment and more energy efficient than incandescent lamps.
CFLs had the worst interference on AM radio frequencies and mercury in CFLs was a problem if bulbs were dis-posed incorrectly or were broken.
One of the most important things she discovered was people had not been properly informed how to use CFLs and dispose of them and she felt there needed to be more awareness.
One of Laura's prizes was a scholarship to a summer science school at the University of Otago.