South Fremantle Senior High School

Saving energy at school to become Australia’s first carbon neutral school

South Fremantle Senior High School is a comprehensive co-educational high school located in Beaconsfield, WA. Opened in 1967, the school’s catchment area covers most of the City of Fremantle and the school has an enrollment of around 330 students.

Australia’s first Carbon Neutral School
In 2007, having been concerned about the volume of greenhouse gases it emitted each year, the school decided to act, appointing a Carbon Neutral Project Officer and establishing the Carbon Neutral Project (CNP). This set in motion a four year journey to becoming Australia’s first carbon neutral school, capped with multiple awards and a visit from former Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

Energy Consumption CompetitionUnderpinned by data

South Fremantle SHS’s Carbon Neutral Project Officer, Kathy Anketell, recognised that the success of many CNP initiatives depended on being armed with the right data – to identify opportunities for saving energy at school in the first instance, then track and communicate results.

To achieve this, the CNP working group selected to implement Greensense View® sustainability software to monitor energy consumption and water use in real time and display results through an engaging dashboard.

Reducing emissions by 15%
Over four years, using data insights, behavioural change programs and retrofit actions, more than 57.6 tonnes of CO2 emissions had been saved, a reduction of around 15%.

Kathy Anketell provides the background to some of the CNP’s successful initiatives that contributed to saving energy at school:

No more powering empty buildings
“In one of the school’s largest buildings, the auditorium, we realised that the air con was coming on at 8am and staying on until 4pm every day. This is despite the building only being used for 3-4 hours a week. We’ve now installed a push-button timer that powers the building for an hour before it needs to be pressed again.”

“We undertook a similar initiative in the power-heavy computer labs. On the first day of holidays, I used to go into the labs and turn off every computer. We now have “Green Switches” installed – a push button timer that runs for 6 hours. Using Greensense View to monitor energy consumption, I worked out the savings to be $5,000 per annum.”

Fixing the mystery leak
“Before implementing Greensense View, I received a letter from Water Corp. saying that we had a leak. I got a plumber in, he looked around and was convinced there was nothing there. After we implemented Greensense View, one of Greensense team called me and asked whether I knew that we had a leak. A few more people looked into it and still said, “No way, the data must be wrong” – and that if we were losing that much water we’d be washed down the street. Eventually someone did track the leak down – a cracked pipe in the back room of the pool – and we were able to stop it immediately. It cost us a lot but we were able to save a lot more.”

The most effective (and least glamorous) way to reduce water
“Not the most glamorous project but I could see right away that one of the biggest water consumers were the boys’ urinals, which were on an auto flush setting that flushed every 5 minutes 24 hours a day. By replacing the urinals with a more eco-friendly product, we were able to reduce water by 98%, saving around $7,000 a year.”

“Someone mentioned this initiative to Julia Gillard when she visited the school and asked if she wanted to see it. I have a great picture of the Right Honourable Prime Minister leaning over the urinals to inspect our upgrades!”

Kathy concluded, “Armed with the right data, bit by bit we’re chipping away. Greensense View has been a valuable tool for saving energy at school and prioritising projects.”

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