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Silver award winning schools more sustainable

Silver award winning schools more sustainable

January 10, 2008

By changing the way things are done at lunch time and during the holidays, two silver award winning North Shore Enviroschools have made themselves more sustainable.

Sherwood Primary School has cut down its waste going to landfill by 70 per cent by focusing on lunches, while Northcote College is working to reduce its energy consumption by 15 per cent by switching things off, especially during the holidays.

The two schools were given Enviroschools silver awards late last year in recognition of their commitment to becoming more sustainable.

There are 26 schools taking part in the national programme in North Shore City. North Shore City Council works directly with 21 local Enviroschools to plan and develop a more sustainable school environment.

Environmental education co-ordinator, Kate Jackson, says the hard work the students, staff and school community have put into these initiatives - and the results - are very pleasing.

"Students at Sherwood School worked out that 80 per cent of their waste came to school in lunchboxes. So they set about planning ways to cut that down," she says.

They organised surveys and 'litter less lunchbox' competitions, as well as set up a new composting system to recycle food scraps and use it on the school gardens.

"They inspired parents with examples of reusable containers, healthy lunchboxes and recipes on their website, and created a pod cast about their work. The result was a reduction in the amount of waste going to landfill by 70 per cent between March and December last year," says Ms Jackson.

"It's fantastic to see students developing the skills and knowledge to make sustainable choices through technology and maths."

Schoolgen, a Genesis Energy project to install photovoltaic solar panels in schools was the catalyst for Northcote College's energy action group to look at other ways to create energy efficiencies.

"A holiday energy audit revealed that a whole classroom of computers and nine empty fridges were left on and unused for two weeks," says Ms Jackson.

"Students decided that as well as using technology such as solar panels to cut down energy consumption, there were many things students and staff could do themselves to help, starting with switching things off."

As a result, Northcote College has a set a goal to reduce its energy consumption by 15 per cent within a year. This year it is also one of only three schools in the country taking part in the Enviroschools and BRANZ passive solar heating initiative.

Ms Jackson says it is great to see so many North Shore schools recognised for their sustainability efforts.

Two other North Shore schools - Greenhithe Primary and Torbay Primary - also received silver awards, and seven schools were awarded a bronze. They were Bayview School, Murrays Bay Primary School, Northcross Intermediate School, St Leos School, Sunnybrae Normal School and Windy Ridge School.

For more information on Enviroschools, please visit www.northshorecity.govt.nz.


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