Green quest to leave a legacy

A shared determination to leave IGS forever greener united Year 12 students Will Salkeld and Hunter Forbes in their “sustainable futures” quest last year when they were trekking through Berowra on a silver Duke of Edinburgh’s challenge.

Since then, Hunter researched the School’s green footprint for his senior Geography major work, creating an action plan to tackle the School’s energy use for the better.

Although they were aware of the IGS solar panels on the Wright building, they worried that commitment to sustainability ebbed and flowed over the years.

Principal Shauna’s Colnan’s Strategic Vision, adopted in 2016, includes “sustainable future”, and Hunter met her to seek support for a system which could measure the School’s energy use, giving real time feedback on improvements.

Hunter and Will wanted to see change by the time they left Year 12, a culture change where sustainability was at the forefront of everything at IGS, including excursions and events, at the forefront of everyone’s minds.

With Geography teacher Carmelo Fedele as “a great motivator and advisor” Will and Hunter established a Sustainable Futures Club for fellow students which raised $4,000 to purchase a Provecta Energy Monitoring System (EMS), with the help of matching funds from the PTF and School. Both praised the “untapped enthusiasm” around the School.

The EMS was discussed at the recent School Community Meeting when the success of 2018 International Day and the global environment theme were revisited and PTF members shared ideas for improving the IGS sustainability record.

The EMS is linked to the incoming power cable for the Reg St Leon Building in Kelly Street. A screen outside the Level 2 lifts shows actual energy use in the building at any one time, comparing it to previous usage. The challenge is to keep making improvements by using blinds to keep out unwanted hot western sun, and turning off unnecessary lights and air conditioning.

The challenge has been taken up by Maintenance Supervisor Pramod Mainali who is replacing old lights with more efficient ones as they fail and fine tuning other systems. Chris Lowe of Year 11 is running a light audit of high school rooms. Guidelines for being conscious of energy use are being created for every classroom.

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Maintenance Supervisor Pramod Mainali with Will and Hunter in front of the Provecta Energy Monitoring System (EMS)

As they approach their HSC, Will and Hunter are handing the reins to three “super passionate Year 11 students” and several others from younger years who are poised to continue their legacy by improving recycling and creating a bush tucker garden on the roof, supported by two successful grants.

“It’s all about the future,” said Will. “We are laying the groundwork for others.”

He shared a quote from Tomorrow, When The War Began.

“Live as if it’s your last day on earth, but farm as if it’s forever.”

Other sustainability measures include removing straws from the IGS Canteen and the “half-cut” initiative, to help raise money to enlarge protected rainforest in the Daintree.

Hunter: I’ve had an amazing and very inspiring, empowering time seeing it all come together and getting a chance to take this journey and see where it all goes down the track.

Will: It was fantastic to see how support for sustainability skyrocketed once everyone found out what we doing.
The community of this school is inherently forward thinking and supportive of what students do and makes me hopeful about where it’s taking us in the future. This is a very small beginning.

Pramod: We can see how much energy and money we are saving, and where. It’s a very good system. What I have seen is amazing.