Sustainability Activities

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The Green Team have been busy this term investigating a range of projects.

Reducing plastic in the Canteen

We noticed that the Cafeteria was providing plastic cutlery - when we investigated, we learned that most of the metal forks and spoons had disappeared so there were not enough to put out at meal times.

We tried to find the missing cutlery - we sent notices to remind students and staff to return cutlery to the canteen, and we put baskets in convenient places for people to return cutlery they had borrowed.

While we are waiting for the new metal cutlery to arrive, we decided to measure how many plastic forks and spoons we use each day. We discovered that, on average, AISM students use 169 spoons and 206 forks per day. We have calculated this would mean around 30 420 plastic spoons and 37 080 plastic forks per year!

Year 7 Green Team members are exploring ways to reduce the amount of plastic we use in the canteen - using metal cutlery, compostable wooden cutlery, BYO cutlery, and a better system for collecting dirty cutlery are some options being considered.

Grow Dome

Year 6 Green Team members are busy investigating how whether they can create a greenhouse from a large plastic dome that they saved from the rubbish. You may see the ‘Grow Dome’ near the canteen - although it’s location changes from time to time, as the students try to find the best position for plants to grow inside.

The team began investigating the temperature, humidity and gas levels inside the dome using Data probes from the Science Department. They found that the temperature inside the dome was up to 15oC warmer than outside air temperature. On a sunny day, the temperature inside was as high as 580C, which students predict will be too hot for plants to grow. Regular greenhouses have windows and doors that can be opened to allow heat to escape. Rather than making holes in the dome, the students will try lifting the dome up on blocks of wood to create a gap and allow air flow and heat to escape..

The students are keen to use the Grow Dome to sprout herbs and flowering plants, and to grow cuttings from bushes to create new garden beds.

AISM’s Greenhouse Gas footprint

Earlier this year, we began monitoring the school’s carbon footprint. We compared the AISM’s energy consumption in 2016 and 2017, then calculated the carbon gas emissions. We discovered the school had reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than 10%. One reason for this staggering saving was that Facilities staff have installed timers that switch off lights and air conditioning during the weekend and after hours. So if staff or students forget, the system will turn power off in many areas automatically.

The Junior School’s ‘Green Dragons’ have been busy helping to reduce energy waste, by monitoring empty classrooms at lunchtime. They award points based on whether the lights, air conditioners and projectors have been left ‘on’ or turned ‘off’. Classes are very motivated to score well!

And in the Middle Senior School, room timetables are now displayed at the entrance to each room so teachers can easily see whether another class will be coming into that room for the next lesson - and decide whether to turn equipment off or leave it on for the next class.

Over the next few weeks, the green team hopes to collect information about the lights, air conditioners and projectors used in classrooms, to calculate potential savings if we were to switch equipment off when rooms are empty.