Below is our submission for an international energy grant from the UAE.
2. Sustainable energy, ecology and education
3.We propose to create a sustainable energy research, development and manufacturing laboratory called the “Future Factory”. Based on the Romney shed (UK), the laboratory will be locally designed and purpose-built. With a “work side” for assembly and manufacturing and a “clean side” for research and prototypes, this will be a state of the art workshop-classroom integrating electronics, mechanics, and model building to stimulate education around engineering, architecture, arts, ecology, humanities and mathematics. It will maximise impact on sustainability awareness through by developing projects that will be made available to the wider community through our partnerships with local schools, tertiary education providers and local businesses. Ultimately, the resources will be distributed to schools around the State of Victoria, and beyond.
It is intended that students become more aware of sustainability problems, then find innovative solutions, then from the solutions, develop educational resources. Our students have already designed a flat-packed, all-in-one plant nursery replete with timers, irrigation, pumps, vermiculture beds, rain catchment tanks and raised garden. This project that can be duplicated in other schools.
The quantitative and qualitative objectives include the community-led creation of the lab itself, the dissemination of innovative technologies to other communities and the educational opportunity achieved through collaboration regionally and globally. The measurable outputs will include an off-grid building with 5 Kw Solar and battery UPS achieved through a collaborative and distributive process of imagineering. Costs for the first year are US$75K. Land has been set aside. The concept has the full support of the school. (250 words)
4. Based on our philosophy of “Create, Make, Do” the impact of such a curriculum-tied program that teaches responsibility and stewardship is boundless. The curriculum will have a significant sustainable energy focus and a hands-on approach to problem solving. This will transform the knowledge base of the existing school remarkably, further cementing our position as a bastion of innovation that moves upward and outward from our local Coburg area.
The way students construct and understand their worldview will change because of our new responsibility to local schools, regional communities and our globally networked program partners. Through this project, we will make contributions to communities in Thailand and India through a low tech, accessible approach to sustainability, and collaborate with partner schools in San Francisco and Stockholm to challenge extant problems.
The skills we plan to develop go well beyond just ‘making’. They include collaborative parent-teacher-student program participation skills, building design and construction skills, and from the networking of stakeholders from RMIT University Centre for Urban Research to Pascoe Vale Primary School green schoolyard program. Imagination has no boundaries and allowing for students to grow a program of this magnitude positively impacts on their confidence and the development of multimodal skill sets.
5. Project costs will be $75,000 for the first year, with $15,000 and $10,000 reserved for the following years respectively. Contribution from the school will be a pro-rated value based on the number of scheduled student hours completed in the project itself, assumed to be around $5,000 per year. Other revenue streams that will allow the continuity of the program are the sale of distributed technologies at cost of materials plus 10%. The timeline of the project is ongoing. Given the facilities are portable and the tools are durable, the resources should be available and active as long as the school exists.
The project is scaled to allow the funding along with minor contributions from partners to generate and sustain the project perpetually. We have discount agreements with strategic partners including Leica Microsystems, Australian Wind and Solar, Velo Cycles and Raunik Engineering to offset the high prices in Australia. We plan to source used and recycled materials when it is an option. Tools and the building will be sourced new, but through discounted bulk buying arrangements. Labour costs are our biggest savings, the building itself is constructed collectively and through use of semiskilled workers.
We are working with local military architectural historian Dave O’Brien, using original plans from WWII. We believe we can construct the steel structure at cost. We have a number of specialist electricians, physicists, chemists, programmers and biologists on staff to assist with the oversight of the curriculum implementation. We have award winning teachers in sustainability to direct the program. We have an agreement with the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology to collaborate with researchers and degree candidates on the program in general. Finally, we have neighbouring primary schools who are interested in receiving the technologies and collaborating with our students.
Table 1: Project plan outline
|Task||Cost||Description||Impact||Milestone||Timing (months) 02/2015 onward|
|integration with National Curriculum||
|Professional Development, incursions.||Creates space in the curriculum for appreciative inquiry and problem solving approach to sustainability||Combined year 7’s and 10’s form teams to work on problem based learning. Draft construction plans.||X||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|Construction of the ‘Lab‘||
|Earthworks, green concrete slab, engineered iron, corrugated iron, insulation, doors & security||Brings community together, local production of materials, and architectural history implications||Completion of earthworks, poured slab and bending of pipe. Ready for assembly||X||X||X||X|
|Installation of the Solar and UPS||
|5Kw solar array on north facing roofline. Uninterrupted power supply in the form of a battery bank with controller and inverter.||Allows for the program to demonstrate the principles of sustainability and imbues each product with a higher green rating||Fitting engineered solar rack, to roof, connecting panels, inverters and batteries to power points for use.||X||X||X|
|Acquisition of materials||
|Tools, safety equip, first aid building materials, bike fleet||Catalyses program allows for real development and production to commence.||Storing and securiing tools and materials on site||X||X||X||X||X||X|
|Development and distribution of technologies||
|Class by class development of production, delivery of goods and services,||The critical objective of the program, far reaching and ongoing impacts on other students.||Operational network with RMIT C.U.R. and distribution of greenhouse, and dissemination of Bike work stands, biofuel production||X||X||X||X||X|
|Alignment with industry standards||
|Risk assessment sheet completion, material and equipment handling education and documentation||Absolutely necessary to legally function in the Department of Education||Complete binders for safe handling of all materials and equipment on site. Specify training activities||X||X||X||X||X||X||X|
Innovation – 20%
6. We aim to solve the problem of limited access to sustainable technologies. Running sustainability projects at schools is often time restricted, funds restricted, or limited by a short-term view of their communities. We want to break that mould by placing sustainability and energy innovation at the centre of curriculum philosophy. Granting students access to the means of production also requires students to be stewards of their community, from local to global. Our objective is to become the secondary-school knowledge hub of the metropolitan area of Melbourne, collating and collaborating on innovative technologies. Not only should we be able to demonstrate sustainability in how we operate, but spread the resources and knowledge to empower other schools and communities.
Much of the inspiration for our project comes from Open Source Ecology (OSE) founder, Marcin Jakubowski. A physicist and a farmer, Jakubowski found simple ways to reproduce basic machinery and broadcast the CAD drawings and instructions via an open source wiki project. Similarly we aim to break down the barriers to access and encourage other satellite schools to employ more sustainable technologies. Take for example, the idea of a Year 10 student about schoolyard sculptures that cast shade, resemble big plants that follow the sun, and are powered by solar. The student made the connection that solar power creates shade, and can help the problem of over exposure in schools. From there it took an artistic twist. No such solutions to this problem exist, yet the niche for a stand-alone shade structure does. This example warrants a prototype, and testing.
We came to a consensus on making the “Futures Factory” after six months of discussions and brainstorming. Abiding by our central philosophy that we should not only enjoy the fruits of sustainable technologies, but also plant the seeds.
7.The school is located in the Northern Metropolitan Region of Melbourne along a significant natural feature, the Merri Creek. Our 11-hectare campus is full of mature trees, rolling grass mounds and endemic bird species. The school’s sustainability program has installed a 1.5 Kw wind turbine on the roof, built a 30 m2 raised bed garden and recently won a $2000 grant to refurbish the greenhouse. Our greenhouse runs in conjunction with the Merri Creek Management Committee and Moreland City Council, producing indigenous plants for creek restoration and weed abatement.
The “Futures Factory” energy lab is an ambitious project with wide reaching implications for our students, many of who come from non-English speaking homes. Drawing on the skills of our community, staff, and strategic partners, we anticipate a cost-effective program delivery, with minimal tenders and contracts.
We are happy to say that our efforts in networking have garnered interest from RMIT University, Monash University, neighbouring schools, local businesses, local government and the state Department of Education. These strategic partnerships range from promises to provide small scholarships, discounted rates, free workshops, student teachers of maths and science, and invitations from the universities for our students to attend lectures. Globally, we have ongoing relationships in Thailand, California, Stockholm and the Netherlands.
Every year, our students visit a village in Thailand and contribute labour and materials to a building project. We will extend this work and have students design and develop bicycle work-stand pack that is easily assembled, durable and comes with an appropriate toolkit. In a land where bicycles are a common form of transport, this project could be realised in a timely manner.
In California we are partners with the Hayward High School Ecology Centre, which work on ecological solutions to urban issues around drainage and native plant habitat restoration. We are excited to share our breakthroughs and learn from their successes in the future.
A creative use of a local resource is our plan to make the OSE power cube hydraulics plant, which runs on biofuels from waste vegetable oil. The hydraulics plant would run the OSE Compressed Earth Brickmaker, which uses a 20-tonne press to turn soil into near-ceramic hardness. These earth bricks are used to protect sewer drains from storm pulses, make retaining walls or parapet walls for buildings or garden beds. This is the closed system approach to locally sourced materials and resources which reflects our philosophy.
[max 400 words]
Leadership – 20%
8. Were this application to succeed, students will not only be able to continue with their sustainability curriculum but also engage in cross-curricular integration of energy education between all year levels up to their final year. The structure of the cohorts may include mixed ages, and mixed ability groupings based on the collaborative approach developed by David Langford. Students’ responsibility in the program is to not only to research solutions to problems, but also to road-test existing technologies and innovate simple, affordable, efficient solutions that are applicable to local conditions.
Throughout the term of the project, both students and staff will be collaborating to see the project move from planning to construction, furbishment and finally implementation. The existing student sustainability group, administration, parents and student leadership will all have a position on a steering committee that oversees the execution of the grant. This integrated leadership structure furthers opportunity for student growth and achievement.
The day to day operation will be run with input from teachers from varying disciplines based on direction from students, along with external stakeholders such as RMIT and Monash University. Students will follow a ‘Create, Make, Do’ process where they will have the opportunity to create virtual designs, then 3D print scale models. At both of these stages, designs will be refined with peer and teacher feedback. From here, full-scale fabrication can be carried out by students under teacher supervision.
Staff will provide technical support and advice where required in relation to the computer-based components of design, then more hands on teaching and demonstrating in the practice-based production phase. In addition staff will also provide support in the implementation of scaled-up production regimes. The classroom experience for students will involve communicating with schools internationally, specifically with connections in San Francisco, Stockholm and the Netherlands.
9.The project plan grew from student response to the rehabilitation works of an existing greenhouse and garden within the school grounds. Their enthusiasm for the hands-on nature of the work, along with the sense of achievement, gained momentum and spawned a student sustainability group that was student-managed and driven. We found out about ZFEP in November 2013 and think our concept would qualify for such a grant that is focused on supporting innovation.
Students of the connected generation are looking for a more formal and longer term blending of technology and sustainability. Deliberation in student meetings and informal discussion with colleagues and friends resulted not in a singular entity such as solar panels, but rather building the capacity for nurturing continued development and innovation. Staff were able to put forward what was achievable and realistic to this end. Through seeking strategic partnerships we have arrived at the current program concept.
Once the practicality of the design of the Romney Shed had been discovered and a local producer sourced, students led the process using SketchUp to design and orientate the building, taking account of accessibility and passive solar design. Reproducing the building in SketchUp required them to learn about the design of the structure and calculate measurements based on geometric ratios. Students then had to allocate and arrange the physical space to accommodate the different work spaces within the building, being aware of factors such as the transmission of noise, dust and the movement of people through the building.
Long Term Vision – 30%
Here we are looking for a strong long-term vision in terms of past, present and future achievements, and how the project fits into the vision.
We also want to see a project with clearly defined roles that will make sure it maintains its impact long into the future.
10. What is the school’s long-term sustainability goal?
In 2013 we joined the Australian Sustainable Schools Initiative (AUSSI), which is a state-wide five-year program that guides development in terms of waste, water, biodiversity and energy. Our vision of a sustainable school predated this program, but has been bolstered by our involvement in this network of 500 hundred schools. Working closely with the Centre for Education and Research in Environmental Strategies (CERES) in executing our program, we have gone beyond a singular vision, but woven each component into our practices each year. We now have a campus-wide recycling program; 1.5 Kw wind turbine three stories up which offsets the grid based consumption of projectors throughout the school; a 30 sq m organic garden made of one-tonne carved bluestone blocks; a greenhouse under refurbishment which aims to produce indigenous grasses and trees for the creek restoration project; and a stringent school-wide sustainability policy stipulating efficient use of resources.
Our long-term vision is to be a school of 1000 students who lead the region in sustainability education and innovation. Being a networked centre of knowledge which communicates frequently with partners in other schools and industries is the most powerful outcome we could hope for. “Having a purpose-built sustainability future factory” would not only situate us among the key reformers in technological change, like state agencies and universities, but build a bridge to local primary/ secondary schools, museums and industry. The objective is to send students to university where they pursue passions stoked at our school.
[max 250 words]
11. In what way is the project expected to encourage responsible global citizenship and sustainability among students, staff, parents and the wider community? What steps will be taken to ensure this? [max 300 words]
The steps the school can take to ensure community involvement and international relationships is based on a participatory approach to learning and decision making. From the outset, students have been involved and are excited to design and construct the facilities under supervision of the staff, parents and professionals. The process of establishing the program, ordering materials and tools, installation of systems and production of technologies of greatest utility will all be built into the year 7-10 curriculum. Empowering the students with the decision process through a democratic approach is a powerful lesson on many levels, and the opportunity to implement this program will be a gift to the students like they have never known.
Responsible global citizenship is an ethos already built into our curriculum. Students have been collecting unused mobile phones since learning at the Melbourne Zoo that the mineral coltan is mined exclusively from gorilla habitats in the Congo Basin. This student-led initiative has changed the way students construct their worldview. We also make yearly trips to a village near Chang Mai where up to 15 students have helped construct a toilet and shower blocks and a community library space in a remote village north of Chiangmai in northern Thailand.
Some proposed projects are complex, some are simple. For example technologies like the xylem-based water filter systems, developed by MIT, can help fight disease from contaminated water using pine branch plugs; or bicycle stands for workshops that can be shipped to remote locations as donations – these builds global relationships and elevate consciousness about humanitarian issues. Energy comes in many forms and for students to help people save time, space, money or effort through innovative adaptations is a key problem solving skill that will not only enhance their world but our shared future.
12. Project continuity and management:
not just in terms of maintenance
but in the engagement and commitment of student groups
and the broader community
student committee been created to focus on sustainability initiatives?
If so, what are its duties, and what has it done already?
The project will continue and evolve as long as the school does. To ensure this we will have a steering committee composed of students, staff and parents. Student leadership and the student sustainability group are behind this project and will participate in the steering of it. Staff who implement the curriculum will have a voice in the direction and future of the program. Our community partners will have a seat at the board and hopefully bring insights and resources to the table. Existing governance board members and the principal will have a leading role on the steering committee, shall require regular updates, delegation of tasks and maintain oversight of the finances of the program for years to come.
The student involvement so far in the AUSSI network has resulted in a recycling program, grant writing for the nursery refurbishment, installation of the garden, all of which would not have been possible without their decision making and labour.
b. Please provide a list of people and responsibilities in the following table. [include relationship to the school, eg. staff, student, parent, neighbour]
Table 2: Project roles
|Will Frew||Logistics Administrator|
|Catherine McMahon||Assistant Principal|
|Theo Hartman||Sustainability Coordinator|
|Anthony Carter||Sustainability Coordinator|
|Sam Cope||Science and Maths teacher|
|Anjali Sahsrabudhi||Biology teacher|
|Peter Biddington||Humanities teacher (retired) and Groundsman|
|Andrew Hickson||Maths teacher|
|Anne Murphy||School Secretary|
|Gabrielle Svajcer||Student Sustainability Chair|
|Clara Borg||Student Sustainability Secretary|
|Sam Mitrakoulis||Student Sustainability Communications Dir.|
|Jack Meston||Student Sustainability Communications Treasurer.|
|Con Haritou||Student Sustainability Communications Sergeant at Arms|
|Sebastien Falcone||Student Design and Building Director.|
|Deborah Chew||Geography Student|
|Ben Miccalef||Geography Student|
|Bella Litleton-Salmas||Geography Student|
|Tre Samuels||Student Digital Innovator|
|Talea Umit||Student Digital Innovator|
|Kate Hall||Parent Organisation leader|
|John Jennings||Parent, Governing Board Member|
|Dave O’Brien||Architectural Historian|
|Angela Foley||MCMC Catchment Manager|
|George Raunick||Raunik Engineering|
|Joe Hurley||Sustainability and Urban Planning Bachelor program manager, member of Centre for Urban Research, RMIT|
|Martin Mulligan||Senior researcher in the Globalism Research Centre within the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies at RMIT|
|Sevim Zongur||Faculty of Engineering & IT, Monash University|
|Lucy Manne||AYCC National Co-Coordinator|
|Richard Foong||Leica Microsystems|
|Adam Falzon||Aus Wind and Solar Director|
|Paul Shub||VELO CYCLES|
|MORELAND ENERGY FOUNDATION Ltd.|
|YARRA VALLEY WATER|
|George Bullis||Hayward High School Principal|
|Viveka Rosqvist||Rector, Häggviks Gymnasium, Sollentuna, Sweden|
|Science works||Local authority and consultant|