Sustainability is one of the pillars of learning at Ivanhoe Grammar School. In 2018, the school and community decided it was time to take greater action to reduce the school’s carbon footprint and become more sustainable.
The school invested $750k across two campuses in a 274kW system and a 242kW system. The school has estimated this investment will be paid back within one to six years, making it well worthwhile. By designing the individual solar grid areas to be under 100kW systems, the school was entitled to a small-scale technology certificate refund from energy providers and received about 30% back.
A year after installing solar panel systems across their Ivanhoe and Plenty campuses, the school is saving around $100,000 a year.
The benefits haven’t just been financial. The solar systems provide a wonderful learning experience, with a comprehensive solar monitoring portal that students and teachers use to see the energy produced by the system and the energy consumed by the school. Weather stations were installed on each campus to allow students to assess the solar irradiation and compare the difference between weather patterns on each campus.
At the Plenty Campus, there are three off-grid classrooms, each with a set of solar panels and battery, which allow the students to understand what’s needed to achieve self-sufficiency. The students can directly see the impact of their actions, such as turning off the air conditioning versus using natural ventilation, turning lights off and using an appliance such as a microwave oven or kettle.
Despite the efforts and challenges, the project has been well worth it and the school is now looking to become fully carbon neutral within five to ten years.
The school is installing a further 330kW of panels across both campuses, which will take the school to around 50% renewable. Other sustainability efforts include reducing cars on the road through encouraging carpooling, installing more bike racks and improving the school’s recycling efforts.
These are impressive efforts. We’ve no doubt that these efforts will encourage the latest generation of young adults walking through the school gates to take action on the changes they want to see in the world around them - particularly the switch we all need to make to renewable energy.
If you've been planning to make the switch to solar, why not give us a call with any questions you might have? We provide free, independent advice to schools, businesses and residents in Banyule - so that together, we can work towards achieving an emissions-free future.
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