International Grammar School has been recognised as an Award winner in The Educator’s first-ever 5 Star Sustainable Schools’ Program. The Award acknowledges schools at the forefront of change and is delivered in partnership with the Positive Education Schools Association (PESA).
As schools play a critical role in equipping youth to be lifelong stewards of society and the environment, this Award aims to influence more schools and communities to follow suit to build a better environmental future.
IGS has a vision to be a lighthouse school for sustainability and it has identified six key areas to make meaningful progress: waste, energy, biodiversity, water, resources and activism. Some of the steps we have taken include:
- Founded a student-led ‘Sustainable Futures’ group in 2017
- Created the role of Head of Sustainability in 2020
- Appointed a Student Sustainability Portfolio Leader in 2021
- Adopted the Eco-Schools model, a globally recognised framework
“The Eco-Schools seven-step model provides a comprehensive approach to addressing sustainability across our School’s operations and curriculum. It helps us set goals, implement action plans and monitor progress effectively,” said IGS Head of Sustainability Carmelo Fedele.
IGS has implemented an energy monitoring system to track high energy usage areas. This has led to energy-saving measures like switching to LED lights and installing motion sensors to turn off lights in unused spaces. Surveys within our community have gathered perspectives on sustainability, helping the school align their efforts with stakeholder expectations and concerns.
Internal audits have shown that between 2020 and 2022 our sustainability program has achieved significant success:
- Recycled waste increased from 19% to 50%
- Waste sent to landfills decreased from 81% to 50%
- Carbon emissions from waste decreased from 375 kg CO2e to 170 kg CO2e
- Effective management of water resources with a benchmark of 8.8L per student per day
IGS already promotes green spaces within the School and according to Mr Fedele, “We aim to improve the integration of green spaces, native plantings and sustainable landscaping practices within our grounds. This enhances the aesthetic appeal of our campuses and contributes to biodiversity conservation and student wellbeing”.
IGS is also a participant in the pilot NABERS Accelerate program, which focuses on improving energy efficiency in educational facilities.
Our students have displayed a passion for environmental activism and this has led to a dialogue with Tanya Plibersek, local MP and Minister for the Environment and Water. Mr Fedele says, “This focus area was born out of some of our students’ involvement in School Strikes 4 Climate and Fridays for Future. We recognised that students wanted to be active citizens and engage politically, so we decided to help guide students to do so thoughtfully and effectively.”
IGS aims to enable students to live a sustainable life at all times. “Our commitment to sustainability extends beyond our school gates. Through activism, we inspire our students to become advocates for positive change in their local and global communities,” says Mr Fedele. “We encourage our students to engage in environmental initiatives, take part in campaigns and become leaders in sustainable practices.”
IGS would like to thank Mr Fedele and the whole IGS team and community that contributed to this Award with particular thanks to Principal Ms Shauna Colnan, Mary Duma, Hannes Roos, Pramod Mainali and the facilities team, Patty, Di and the canteen team, the Sustainability Portfolio Leaders over the last four years Euan Thomas, Harriet Ryder, Ruari Foster and Madeleine Hayen and of course the dozens of students in Sustainable Futures.