Lauriston Girls School a sustainability winner
THE Howqua campus of Lauriston Girls’ School has won this year’s Energy School of the Year Secondary category for its Black Balloons initiative.
The prestigious award is part of Sustainability Victoria’s ResourceSmart Schools Awards and recognises the school’s passion and commitment to creating a sustainable school and community.
The ResourceSmart Schools program inspires students and their schools to take action on sustainability and climate change, while providing new learning opportunities.
Lauriston’s sustainability team, the ‘Greenies’, have worked hard over the years to make the Howqua campus a 5Star Sustainable School, showing great community leadership along the way.
Sam Ridley, the vice-principal at Howqua said that Howqua is a residential school so energy is being used during the day and night.
“The energy challenges at Howqua are different to most other schools so it has encouraged our teachers and students to think broadly about saving energy,” said Mr Ridley.
Students sleep in houses of 10-12 and so the ‘Black Balloons House Competition’ was created to measure which house can use the least energy each week.
“Energy monitors were installed in each house and the number of black balloons generated each week was calculated.
“One black balloon represents 50 grams of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere that contributes to climate change.”
The results from the weekly consumption are displayed in the dining hall and the house that produced the lowest number of black balloons is awarded the “Green House Award”.
The program has led to a significant reduction in energy use, with approximately 500 less black balloons being released each week.
Sustainability ResourceSmart facilitator Alice Russell manages the program for the North East region of Victoria.
Ms Russell works with a number of schools in the region.
“Lauriston students are on campus seven days a week so not only is resource use much higher than a standard school, but they have to teach a new group of students about sustainability every year,” said Ms Russell.
“Science teacher and sustainability coordinator Briony Davenport has done an amazing job working with staff and students to embed sustainability and awareness of resource use into the school and I’m sure the girls go back to Melbourne with a much greater appreciation of their environment.”
S i n c e c o mmenci n g t h e Re - sourceSmart Schools program, the Howqua campus has stopped 238,600 tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere and saved $61,753 in bills.
Students at Lauriston are active in the local community.
This year they were involved in the roll out of the “Don’t Waste Mt Stirling” litter reduction program with Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management and have also planted hundreds of native trees in the Winton Wetlands as part of the Regent Honeyeater Project.
“To be named a finalist or winner in the ResourceSmart Schools Awards 2017, is a tribute to the hard work of t he school communities across Victoria,” Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio said.
GREEN AWARD: The Lauriston sustainability team the ‘Greenies’.