To help us with our environmental ideas, the two teams of Year 10 students attended various workshops at the University of Melbourne. We attended an environmental conference, proposal workshop and presentation and pitching workshop where we were able to work with University students and listen to the advice of CEOs of large companies.

One group resolved to reduce energy consumption at Firbank through the replacement of lights in Cameron Wing. By replacing the current inefficient lighting to LightEco LEDs from the company Ilum-a-LIte, we projected that we would cut our lighting consumption by 30%.

The second group developed a project plan to replace the fluorescent lighting in the Senior School Library with LED energy efficient lights. The implementation of this project would have resulted in a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions and energy consumption.

In August, the two groups attended the University of Melbourne to present our proposals to a panel of judges which included the CEO of Shell and environmental leaders. We competed against students from many other schools who had great ideas: a proposal to cut paper use to nothing by the use of technology and the use of applications on iPads; a proposal to change the heating system in the school to a more energy efficient system and a proposal to implement a waste system to reduce the rubbish with new bins and signage.

It was a tough competition and many creative ideas to help our environment were put forwartd, but Firbank won, receiving the $5000 grant to implement the Ilum-a-Lite Light Eco LEDs and “Save it Easy” adaptors in the Cameron Wing. Zoe Lineham

‘Green Week’, an initiative of the students Environmental Action Group, was based on the idea that we can make a real difference to the environment by making a few small, practical changes to our lives. It was a week packed with creative and fun-filled events which aimed to promote environmentally friendly behaviours. Each day, the Environmental Action Group (EAG) planned events to encourage all students to get involved in reducing our carbon footprint, conserving energy and travelling using green transport. We also held events to raise funds to support environmental protection projects.

A ‘Green Week’ survey focused on the methods of transport students used to travel to school and after school, on the last day of the Week, the EAG screened the movie ‘Over the Hedge’ – a computer animated, comedy adventure with a green theme – to raise funds and to encourage further discussion, action and thinking about the environment.