At Solway Primary School we are committed to reducing our energy consumption and therefore reducing the amount of carbon pollution produced by the school. Since establishing the Sustainability Committee in 2008, the school was lucky enough to be the recipient of a National Schools Solar Programme (NSSP) grant. This allowed us to purchase and install 44 PV solar panels (4.1kW system) on the roof of Brewer Hall. The panels are ideally located on a North facing roof, exposed to full sun throughout the day (and a safe height from flying footballs!). According to the DEECD Report “Understanding Solar Feed-In Credits”, Solway can expect to see a noticeable drop in the school’s electricity bills, once the electricity provider is satisfied that the panels are fully operational and grid connected.

As a part of this grant, we were also able to introduce a number of other energy saving initiatives. These include motion and light-sensor controlled lighting; delamping and relamping school corridors and break-out rooms; and installation of future switches in all classrooms.

In 2010/2011 Solway was also successful in the government BER grants, enabling the upgrade of several classrooms, the addition of three extra classrooms, a community centre and library. These new rooms were designed and built with the principles of energy efficiency in mind and at this time do not require active cooling (airconditioning).

Some of the things we are doing:

  • Monitoring our school’s use of electricity and gas, using the SETS programme.
  • Undertaking an annual energy audit of the school, in order to look for ways that we can operate more efficiently
  • Choosing the most energy efficient appliances, products and methods when able

Things that we have achieved so far:

  • Completion of an external energy audit (2009) and training of parents and teachers in running an annual energy audit for the future
  • De-lamping and re-lamping of the entire school with more energy efficient light globes
  • Installation of motion and light sensored lighting throughout classrooms
  • Use of luxe meters to measure lighting in classrooms
  • Installation of thermometers across all classrooms, to ensure that heating and cooling equipment is only used when needed and monitored through each individual classroom
  • Installation of future switches in all classrooms to enable easy shutdown of equipment during non-use times
  • Installation of signage produced by the students throughout the school, reminding staff, students and visitors to be conscious of their energy use
  • Installation of 44 PV solar panels on the roof of Brewer Hall (2009) as part of the NSSP grants process
  • Running a walking school bus and participating in regular ‘walk to school’ events throughout the year, with the hope of reducing the number of car trips to and from school
  • Building our new library and learning centre with the principles of energy efficiency in mind, so that it can function with passive cooling and heating
  • With a switch to Powerdirect in 2010, we have been able to purchase a small amount of “green” power. Now, 20% of our electricity is sourced sustainably
  • Communication with the school community through our Environment Tips

Things that we would like to achieve in the future:

As a school and community, we have achieved a lot but we still have things to do! In 2012, we are aiming to do even more to reduce our energy consumption:

  • Introduction of a school holiday shut down manual that ensures that appliances that consume large amounts of energy (eg photocopiers, computers etc) are completely powered-down during school holidays.
  • Classroom competition to see which grade can have their classroom operating at the right temperature
  • Installation and use of educational software to allow students to access information from our solar panels about energy consumption at the school throughout the day
  • Installation of draught-proofing to external doors
  • Targeting our staffroom, offices and photocopy room with the aim of minimising any unnecessary energy use.
  • Adding a new Walking School Bus line to the existing route
  • Finding new ways to encourage our school community to reduce energy consumption, not only at school but also at home.

What does the data say?:

  • Data has now been entered for electricity and natural gas usage for the years 2008-present
  • Pleasingly, the per student GHG annual target of 0.4 tonne CO2 has been achieved for the last two years (2010 and 2011). This reduction has come since the introduction of the many different initiatives aimed at reducing energy consumption mentioned above and improves on our performance in 2008 and 2009, which we consider as baseline years.
  • Sadly, our actual energy consumption has increased marginally from 2010 to 2011. Reasons for this may include the BER works that took most of 2011 and included expanding the size and number of classrooms operating at the school; introduction of a school laptop programme which has increased the number of computers being used within the school (years 3-6); increase in other IT infrastructure (new computers; iPads; docking stations)


  • At this time, the solar panels on Brewer Hall have been installed and are awaiting “grid connection” by our electricity provider. Unfortunately, the installation company did not complete all of the paperwork required and have now be declared insolvent. We are currently working with our energy retailer to resolve this issue and hope to see some significant reductions in our electricity bills in 2012
  • Maintaining current initiatives, despite changes in staff, students and parents
  • Achieving the aspirational target of reducing our per student GHG annual target by 50%
By Solway Primary School|2017-11-06T17:21:01+10:00April 27th, 2013|0 Comments