The Global Coalition for Green Schools, an initiative of the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council, announced the 2015 Greenest School on Earth. The recipient school is Dunbarton High School of Pickering, Ontario, Canada.
The Greenest School on Earth is an annual competition, highlighting a K-12 school that exemplifies how sustainability can be integrally woven into the infrastructure, culture and curriculum of a school. The Center defines a green school as one that achieves zero environmental impact (including energy, water, waste and carbon), a positive impact on occupant health and performance and 100 percent environmentally literate graduates.
These traits are encompassed in three pillars—environmental impact, human health and eco-literacy. The Greenest School on Earth designation includes a $1,000 award to be used by the selected school for a sustainability initiative.
“The Greenest School on Earth recognition goes to the school that is defining what it means to live, breathe and teach whole-school sustainability,” said Rachel Gutter, director of the Center for Green Schools. “Dunbarton High School is an excellent example of a school that engages its students at every turn, placing them in the driver’s seat and empowering them to improve their environment, inside and out. We are pleased to recognize Dunbarton’s efforts to improve their community, enhance the biodiversity of the region, and elevate young minds to a higher order of thinking about sustainable practices.”
Dunbarton High School, built in the 1960s, has undergone a significant retrofit over the past five years, installing new energy-efficient windows, insulation and lower wattage lighting. The school offers a Specialist High Skills Major in Environment and engages students through coursework and extracurricular activities related to the school’s natural surroundings.
Also a winner of the 2014 Greenest School in Canada competition, Dunbarton features an outdoor classroom for 40, a 500 square meter pollinator garden and a rooftop solar water heater. Students at the school are provided with stainless steel water bottles upon matriculation and are involved in projects such as organic waste removal and the Atlantic Salmon Restoration Program. The school plans to utilize the $1,000 award to develop a school garden and construct 10 additional bee condominiums, to be shared with the local community.
“It is a great gift for us to be in this community and have the ability to provide students with so many fantastic opportunities related to sustainability,” said David Gordon, instructor at Dunbarton High School. “In Pickering we receive nothing but support for our sustainability initiatives from the board, Pickering City, local businesses, parents, universities and NGO’s. They all provide our students with opportunities to deepen their understanding of sustainable practices and with the chance to take action to make Pickering and Dunbarton High School demonstrably more sustainable. This is what the world needs to adapt to a changing future; young people prepared to take action in a supportive community.”
“Dunbarton is an exceptional example of a school that recognizes and integrates sustainability into education and operations. Changes were made to the old building to reduce carbon emissions and provide a healthier indoor environment for staff and students. Their curriculum emphasizes the value of protecting and restoring ecosystems and provides students with hands on experience, and their community engagement brings people together to take action with a positive impact on the environment,” said Thomas Mueller, president and CEO of the Canada Green Building Council.
“The Canada Green Building Council and the Canada Coalition for Green Schools congratulate Dunbarton students, staff and the surrounding community for their outstanding contribution to a sustainable future, and inspiring others to do the same.”
The panel of judges for this year’s Greenest School on Earth included:
•Princess Noor bint Asem of Jordan
•John Mandyck, chief sustainability officer, UTC Climate, Controls & Security and co-chair of the Center for Green Schools Advisory Board
•Jane Henley, former CEO, World Green Building Council
•Peter Templeton, senior vice president of Global Market Development, U.S. Green Building Council
•Wanda Dunaway, director of education and government markets, Shaw Contract Group
To learn more about the Greenest School on Earth and the Center’s international efforts, please visit centerforgreenschools.org/greenestschool.