Department of Education

Sustainable Schools WA

Sustainable Schools WA

Sustainable Schools WAAction Learning AreasEnergy ‹ South Fremantle Senior High

South Fremantle Senior High


In 2007, South Fremantle Senior High School set itself the goal of becoming ‘carbon neutral’ (i.e. reducing carbon dioxide (C02) emissions from the school to zero) and the whole school community, in partnership with the broader community, is now working together to make this goal a reality.
Staff, students and parents are participating in a range of activities relevant to their daily lives that are positioning South Fremantle Senior High as a ‘centre of learning for sustainability’ within its local community. Achieving ‘carbon neutrality’ at South Fremantle Senior High has been determined as requiring a three phase process:

1. Reducing energy and water use; reducing waste-to-landfill

2. Implementing renewable energy projects
Business partnerships, reallocation of funds and grants will enable the purchase of renewable energy technology (including wind and solar (photovoltaic).

3. Regenerating landscapes through tree planting
Whatever fossil fuel use the school does not reduce or replace by renewable energy will be offset by student / school community tree planting activities. Trees are vital to the health of the planet as they produce oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide (CO2), and partnerships with carbon offsets groups and country high schools will be made as appropriate.

A Greenhouse Snapshot was taken in September 2007 to ensure that every student in the school participated in classroom audits of utilities consumption and waste production. Data collected was collated by Society and Environment students and presented to the school at assembly.

Students conducted a water audit in August 2007 and the school has now moved to using waterless urinals - $7,000 worth of water was saved in 2008. The savings have been used to install 4 star low flush toilets and we intend to retrofit the whole school with additional water saving devices in coming years. 

A partnership with Sungrid and Solar Unlimited has seen (to October 2008) 32 households linked to the school putting solar panels on their roofs and an $11,500 system donated to the school. The Deputy Prime Minister visited the school in 2008 to see the Carbon Neutral Project in action, and unveiled the solar power system.

A ‘Carbon Neutral’ display was put on as part of the Fremantle Kite Festival.

The school has been successful in obtaining retrofit funding from the Department of Education and Training and will replace high energy using bar heaters in staff offices with thin panel heaters (which use 200w compared to the present heaters which used 1800w per hour). There will be an estimated saving of 14,010 kW per annum from this activity.

The Sustainable Energy Development Office funded the installation of LED street lighting to be used as security around the new music centre at the school. This new technology light-emitting diode lights use only 30% of the power that a traditional lamp would use.

HoTRock Foundation has provided $50,000 to implement the ‘Seed to Tree Project’, the “Kali Kitchen Garden” and aquaponics system. In December 2008 construction of the Green Room – Seed to Tree Project was completed, this refurbished shade house will be used to grow native plants and vegetable seedlings. Construction of the kitchen garden was completed in Jan 2009; this includes an outdoor classroom and adjoins the breakfast club. The aquaponics system will be installed early in 2009.

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Teaching and Learning

The Carbon Neutral Project is a whole of school program and related activities take place across Learning Areas as follows: 

• Cooking and Hospitality students learn about the environmental costs of food production and transport
• The Parents & Citizens group organise school community tree plantings, with trees selected to provide food source for various species including the endangered Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo
• All Year 10 Society & Environment students plant trees in the Wheatbelt - a total of 9532 trees were planted in 2008
• Students have removed paving and planted gardens to shade the library to avoid the installation of air-conditioning
• Students were invited to participate in a logo competition with the winning logo now used on school printed material
• Business students operate worm farms as part of their curriculum studies
• Senior students attend relevant sustainability presentations and workshops 

Curriculum Links

English: Reading; Writing; Listening; Speaking
Mathematics: Chance and Data; Number; Working Mathematically
Science: Life and Living
Technology and Enterprise: Information; Systems; Enterprise
The Arts: Arts Ideas
Society and Environment: Investigation, Communication & Participation; Resources; Active Citizenship
Values: Social and Civic Responsibility; Environmental Responsibility

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Sustainability Action Planning

In September 2007 an audit on the schools energy, water and waste was commenced under the supervision of consultant Dr Stephanie Jennings. A grant from the Sustainable Energy Development Office funded the Greenhouse Gas Audit. Various technologies, building changes and behaviour changes will be addressed as the school seeks to reduce its ‘carbon footprint’. To date, 11 audit measures implemented have saved 23.5 tonnes of CO2 emissions:

1. Holiday switch off of 8 storage hot water systems
2. Holiday switch off of gas storage hot water systems
3. De-lamped canteen drinks fridges
4. Signage on light switches
5. Timers on hot water boilers
6. Paper and cardboard recycling
7. Waterless urinals introduced
8. ‘Water wise’ shade planting outside library
9. Timers on all hot water boilers
10. Bar heaters replaced in staff offices
11. Retrofit 4 star low flush toilets

A Carbon Neutral working group provides support and advice at fortnightly meetings. This dedicated group is comprised of teachers, parents, a local government councillor and business members who give their energy and expertise to the project.

The opportunities for businesses to work with the school and our students are limitless and many exciting projects are in the pipeline, these include a sustainable fashion initiative, working with the primary school cluster to support their work in undertaking an energy audit, Fremantle Branch of Bendigo Bank has set up a telecommunication business with 50% of the profits returned to the school and Murdoch’s University Environmental Engineering Dept is providing a detailed evaluation of heating and cooling options for classrooms.

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Philosophy and Ethos

From the outset, the school’s administration has fully embraced the Carbon Neutral Project – this has been a critical success factor – and the school community is committed to working in partnership with its broader local community to achieve significant sustainability outcomes.

South Fremantle Senior High

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