7 March 2019

Canberra's newest school will be carbon neutral

| Ian Bushnell
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Margaret Hendry School students accompany Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability Shane Rattenbury. Photo: Supplied.

Margaret Hendry is a cool school, literally.

With an energy efficient air conditioning system, innovative cooling system and external shading, Canberra’s newest public school has got climate change beat.

But the really cool fact is that it will be the first ACT public school not to produce any greenhouse gas emissions in its operation.

By sourcing all its energy needs from electricity, including from its own solar panels, Margaret Hendry will be plugging in to the ACT’s 100 per cent renewable energy grid next year.

Combined with a range of other energy efficiency features, the Taylor school is paving the way for other public schools and Government buildings.

The Government says the inclusion of technologies that maximise the efficient use of electricity in addition to the use of onsite generation of renewable energy showcases how sustainable design principles can achieve cost and energy efficient schools to support the ACT’s target of zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2045.

Minister for Education and Early Childhood Development, Yvette Berry and Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability Shane Rattenbury visited the school on Wednesday to inspect the facilities.

The range of initiatives used to ensure the operation of Margaret Hendry School is carbon neutral include:

    • 100kW solar panels to reduce demand on the electricity grid and school energy costs
    • Automated LED lighting with integrated motion sensor control to save power
    • Double-glazing to reduce the need for heating and cooling
    • Electric-boosted solar hot water to provide low cost, zero emission hot water
    • External shading to keep learning environments naturally cooler
    • An air conditioning system which can transfer heat from one part of the building to another to improve energy efficiency
    • A cooling system that flushes cool night air into the school buildings during summer to reduce the need for cooling during the day

Additional carbon emission reduction strategies are being rolled out in existing schools, including roof-mounted solar panels, LED lighting upgrades, insulation and glazing upgrades, sustainable transport options and involving students and teachers in sustainability programs.

Minister for Education and Early Childhood Development, Yvette Berry said Margaret Hendry School was an example of what all new schools can achieve.

“As parents and teachers know, children show great enthusiasm when it comes to sustainability and it is great to see this in action at Canberra’s newest public school,” she said.

“The ACT’s public education sector provides a great example of the pursuit of sustainable development in new and existing schools.

“These approaches explore the roles that technology, infrastructure and behaviour play in reducing carbon emissions.”

Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability Shane Rattenbury said Margaret Hendry School was an example of the type of public facility that people will see much more of in Canberra.

“As a response to climate change, we’re aiming to make the ACT completely carbon neutral by 2045, and a critical part of this is transitioning away from fossil fuels,” he said.

“This means we need to stop using natural gas, and instead use electricity from renewable sources. Margaret Hendry School shows that buildings that use only electricity are perfectly feasible – as well as comfortable and economical – even in large and complex environments such as a school.


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Capital Retro3:00 pm 08 Mar 19

Oscar Mike is on the same page as me.

Capital Retro10:52 am 10 Mar 19

That should read “was on the same page….”

Don’t know what happened to his post which dared to question the climate change spin. Obviously didn’t fit the narrative.

Not the first school in Canberra to meet this environmental criterion.

‘Urambi Primary School’ Kambah became completely ‘Carbon Neutral’ when Andrew Barr ‘closed the school’. Well done Chief Minister, you must still be very happy with your decision to hurt so many young families.

In fact it was the same for 4 other Kambah schools that the ACT Government closed in the Suburb during the 2000s:
. Mount Neighbour Primary School
. Village Creek Primary School
. Urambi PRE School
. Village Creek PRE School

An Educational and Demographic disaster for the Suburb, from which it hasn’t recovered. But hey the Chief Minister was able to save a few dollars from his Education budget, re-zone the school land for new residential buildings and take away the ovals and kids play equipment.

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