What would it look like to be the greenest school we can be, and what steps are we taking to get there?
These questions drive sustainability initiatives at Crofton House School, though much of the work is done behind the scenes and without us noticing day-to-day.
Leading campus sustainability initiatives is a group of passionate Senior School students and teachers, including the Senior School Social Responsibility Club and Ms Warner, Mr Ripley, Ms Hare, Ms Allen and Ms Wilson. Together, they have been gathering information on how CHS is moving forward sustainably and bringing together insights from different campus departments into how we can continue to move forward positively.
“I hope that over the next ten years or 20 years, we will be able to build in more habits for CHS families and staff,” Ms Hare explained about the future of sustainability on campus. “But how do we start planting the seeds now?”
A Glimpse Into Current Campus Sustainability
Facilities: Did you know that the new buildings on campus were designed with sustainability in mind? Those facilities include geothermal heating and motion sensor lighting to limit electricity use—which the Senior School Social Responsibility Club got to explore on a club tour in early December.
“We did a big unit on geothermal heating as a club…,” Social Responsibility Club Co-Captain Sophia said. “We learned a lot about what that looks like, how environmentally conscious the system is, and what it takes to implement it.”
“And we got to do a tour of the geothermal heating as kind of our year-end project. Getting to see what that looked like and connecting with some of the facility members at our school was a cool experience.”
Various buildings also include control systems programmed to save energy where possible. The facilities team worked with BC Hydro on an energy audit across campus to consider other areas for improvement.
IT: With learning powered by iPads and Mac laptops, considering the life-cycle of devices is crucial for campus sustainability. Currently, campus IT is applying a 4-year life cycle for iPads in the Junior School and moving from a 3- to 5-year life cycle for laptops in the Senior School, focusing on repairing rather than replacing devices, where possible. The department is also consistently considering its carbon footprint when purchasing new software or programs for the School.
Waste Management: Across Crofton House, there are various options for recycling and sustainable waste management. These include:
- Eighteen compost locations across campus, including washrooms where paper towels are collected
- Blue bins in classrooms and offices campus-wide for paper recycling
- Electronics recycling through the IT department
- A textiles recycling bin in the Senior School Textiles classroom
- End-of-life art supplies are being recycled in a TerraCycle zero waste bin in the Senior School art classroom, and the Junior School art storage room
- There is a whiteboard marker recycling bin in the Ideation Lab, as well as general marker recycling boxes in the copy room and Maker’s Space
- Recently added on campus are six disposable mask recycling boxes. The sustainability-focused staff brought the initiative forward to the Social Responsibility Club team, who put the boxes into action.
“We thought it was a good idea because our club values sustainability, environment and social justice. And this is certainly a problem today, that pollution,” Club Co-Captain Ting Ting said.
With the vast waste management availability on campus, recycling in the 2021-2022 school year has been less contaminated than in past years. Great work, CHS!
Future Steps Forward
While the sustainable initiatives around campus are positive steps forward, there is always more we can do to create individual and systemic change across our community—reducing food waste in Manrell Hall and encouraging sustainable transportation to and from school, for example!
Senior School students can attend Social Responsibility Club meetings on Tuesdays at lunch. At the same time, different stakeholder groups are being engaged across campus by Ms Hare, Ms Wilson and Ms Allen.