Private schools are being encouraged to become ‘greener’ and more ‘eco-friendly’ by students who want to make a positive difference to this world.
They are embracing solar panels, building wellness centres and creating eco-friendly campsites in country areas.
Corpus Christi College in WA was one of the first to introduce solar panels.
Alan Luks, the college’s manager of finance and operations, told The Educator that the primary considerations for the College were potential cost savings and to significantly reduce our carbon footprint.
“Power prices are consistently rising and the muted forthcoming increases will be significant for both home owners and Colleges alike,” Luks said.
“With this in mind, we entered into an arrangement to install a large solar power system with an indication that this would result in savings of around 20% of our current bill.”
Luks said he was pleased to say this has been the case, not only reducing the college’s energy bill but its carbon footprint.
“We should reap this benefit for years to come,” he said.
Dominic Da Cruz, managing director of Perdaman Advanced Energy, told The Educator that the company has seen a major spike in schools – particularly in the private school sector – considering solar power for multiple reasons.
“Financial viability is a factor. The downturn in the WA economy and departure of jobs in the resources sector has resulted in falling enrolments in private schools,” Da Cruz explained.
“This impacts revenue and therefore increases focus on improved cost management. While energy is a long way behind staffing costs the use of energy intensive loads such as air-conditioning and pools does make energy a prime cost saving opportunity.”
Da Cruz said solar aligns well with school electricity load profiles, providing power for the large energy intensive loads of air-conditioning (heating and cooling) when they are used the most.
“Solar aligns with schools values and ethos reducing their impact on the environment. The combination of the above two contributes to attracting and retaining students and staff,” he said.
Da Cruz pointed out that with classroom hours during peak solar collection periods, schools with solar are benefiting from a technology that makes good savings sense – making more money available for education and reducing exposure to ever increasing electricity prices.
“If principals want students to understand their responsibilities as stewards of the earth then tapping into solar is a practical way for them to lead by example,” he said.
“Not having the capital is not a barrier to realising the benefits above because at PAE we will fund, own and operate solar for schools.”