HPAC Magazine

Eco-friendly schools earn some recognition

January 6, 2016   Doug Picklyk

Hamilton, ON and Edmonton, AB are home to Canada’s greenest schools in 2015. The Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) and the Canada Coalition for Green Schools announced in the fall that St. Marguerite d’Youville elementary school in Hamilton and Queen Elizabeth high school in Edmonton, are the 2015 first place winners for the Greenest School in Canada award.

Highlights from Queen Elizabeth high school include the instalment of Smart Meters to measure energy consumption in real-time and light sensors to assess potential for natural day-lighting. The school also monitors CO2 levels, and noticed that the levels rise throughout the day. In response to this, the school incorporated planter boxes, green walls and an aquaponics system into classrooms to address and manage the CO2 increase.

St. Margueritie d’Youville’s submission reduced waste by 90 per cent through the implementation of major recycling and composting programs, as well as daily litterless lunches and the ban of plastic water bottles. The school also holds Health EcoFairs where environmental and health community leaders promote best practices and healthy lifestyles to students, families and the community. Finally, energy consumption has been reduced through turning off un-needed light and electrical devices during the day.

These schools will receive $2000 in prize money to use for additional green activity and both will be submitted as the official Canadian entries into the Greenest School on the Earth competition.

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The 2016 competition will open early this year, and schools that offer any grade from kindergarten to grade 12 in Canada are eligible to participate. Schools are judged based upon efficient use of resources and reduced environmental impact; enhanced health and learning among students, teachers and staff; and an emphasis on sustainability and resource-conservation education. Check the CaGBC website for contest entry dates and more information.