In 2004 Geelong East Primary School received $6080 from the State Energy Authority of Victoria (SEAV) to reduce our electricity consumption as part of the Sustainable Energy In Education Facilities(SEIEF) program. All classrooms have had their fluorescent tubes replaced with tri-phosphor tubes, diffusers have been cleaned, timers installed on hot water systems (0700hrs to 1900hrs) and an energy inefficient canteen fridge has been replaced with four and a half and five star fridges. Classrooms that are part of the old wing have actually had their light output increased yet have one third less light fittings attached to the ceilings. A new computer printer has been installed which has a sleep mode function and is able to print double sided sheets.
‘Sustaininators’ say ‘Hasta la vista’ to Energy Wastage
In 2005 some Year 5 students conducted an EPA “Airwatch” survey using a lux meter to track light output inside school buildings. Their results were presented to a forum at the Melbourne Water Discovery Centre.
In the same year GEPS completed an audit on its shut down practices for the SEAV. We now use this “Energy Shutdown” manual throughout the school. Every classroom has a shut down energy monitor to check on light fittings and appliances such as heaters and computers. If rooms are vacated lights and appliances such as fans and heaters are turned off. Computers are placed in “standby” mode when not being directly used in classrooms. Signage is placed near photocopiers to remind staff about energy saving practices including double sided paper photocopying and switching the machines off after school. Each year classes become involved in activities for Origin Energy’s “Energy Safety Week” and the “Home Energy” kit.
Our school recently changed to TRU Energy for our supply of electricity. We currently source 10% green electrical energy and we are investigating the cost/benefit analysis of sourcing 100% green energy.
This year our school installed a solar powered water pump. The system has a 64watt module panel which provides a charging current of around 4.5 amps to a 12 volt battery in full sun. The solar water pump is used to pump water from three slimline rainwater tanks to our vegetable garden.
GEPS has a maintenance schedule which ensures that light diffusers and air conditioning filters are cleaned on an annual basis.
In 2007 we are going to appoint “Energy Captains” from the senior grades. One of their responsibilities will be to adopt a “layered” policy. Each school day they will track the weather forecast on the BOM website and then use the school’s PA system to recommend what layers of clothing students should wear for the following day.
GEPS has a Walking School Bus which operates each school day. We also participate in the Bicycle Australia “Ride to School Day”. We are currently exploring the Travel Smart Program with our local council.
We are going to apply for a state government grant under the Solar in Schools Initiative for the installation of additional solar panels to reduce our reliance on electrical energy.
Gas and electrical utilities are tracked online with the SETS program. Data from the SETS program shows that we are a low energy user compared to most other schools using the system.
Information about our energy program and sustainability progress is reported on a regular basis in our school newsletter under the banner of “ECOCORNER”.
Our Sustainability Team has developed a VELS linked curriculum CD on Energy for levels one to four called the WWEB of Life. This CD will soon be available online with the Department of Education’s Knowledge Bank website. The team has been nominated for a Teaching & Learning award for the Researcher of the Year Awards 2007 in the Geelong region.