This year the CaGBC Greenest School jury, comprised of green building industry experts from across the country, were so impressed with the submissions that they were unable to choose just one winner. They determined that both Lacombe and Trinity College stood out from other submissions for their exemplary commitment to sustainability and impressive environmental awareness programs for students and staff. As the 2018 Greenest School in Canada winners, both schools will receive a $1,000 cash award to put toward a new or ongoing sustainability project.
Despite being in a smaller Alberta community, Lacombe High School weaves sustainability throughout the school’s programming in a variety of ways.
· An EcoVision environmental club which over the past 15 years has raised funds for 32 solar arrays totaling six kW, along with a portable solar array and solar cars for the classroom; a 42-foot, energy-efficient geodesic tropical greenhouse with geothermal heat storage; outdoor gardens with 40 raised beds, 125 fruit trees, 10 picnic tables, birdhouses, bat houses and evergreen trees; and an urban beekeeping program with three hives and 20+ Lacombe residents.
· Complete composting of about 25kg of organic waste from its kitchen per month, using three thermal composite systems and half a dozen vermi-composite systems.
· An Adopt a Garden initiative where the school gets community members to help take care of its gardens over the summer months, and local groups are invited to speak about environmental topics in classes.
“Lacombe Composite High School EcoVision is a club where student leaders plan projects that improve the environment, enhance their educational opportunities and encourage community collaboration," said Steven Schultz, teacher at Lacombe Composite HS.
Lacombe Grreenhouse and Garden
For Trinity College School, sustainability is at the forefront of everything they do – including physical building changes and upgrades, and a comprehensive curriculum.
· A five-year sustainability plan focused on reducing environmental footprint and the creation of a healthy, sustainable community, which provides opportunities for students to develop the knowledge and skills that foster sustainability literacy as part of academic and co-curricular activities.
· A decrease in natural gas consumption by 23 per cent over five years, an achievement it attributes to window replacements and upgrades to its building automation systems and boilers.
· Significant efforts to manage its annual energy consumption through: regular electricity audits, a major lighting retrofit, and a 220kW solar PV installation with another 180kW planned.
· A “Farm Field Forest” initiative that runs three days a week, enabling students to build a greenhouse and shed and work on a half-acre farm that harvests vegetables for the school’s dining room and the local community health centre.
“On behalf of the students and staff of Trinity College School, I must say that we are thrilled to be recognized by the CaGBC with the awarding of the Greenest School in Canada 2018 award,” says Stuart Grainger, Headmaster, Trinity College.
The runners up of the 2018 Greenest School in Canada competition were:
· Second Place: Westwood Community High School in Fort McMurray, AB.
· Honorable Mention: Churchill Community High School in La Ronge, SK.
Launched in 2014, this the Greenest School in Canada competition seeks to showcase kindergarten to Grade 12 schools across the country that truly exemplify how sustainability can be woven into the infrastructure, culture and curriculum of a school. The competition is part of a series of initiatives from the CaGBC and the Canada Coalition for Green Schools.