What is ECO SMART?
ECO SMART is our commitment to promoting environmental awareness, and making improvements to Woodridge that ensure a sustainable future for our school. Our objectives are to reduce the school’s energy consumption costs by 30% and to have one of the lowest carbon footprints per child educated.
With the support of students, teachers, parents, and our alumni, ECO SMART will shape Woodridge into a true Eco-School. This forward-thinking approach encourages responsible use of our natural resources, resulting in a reduced environmental impact.
Woodridge has always offered a unique schooling experience that nurtures strong ties to the outdoors. The ECO SMART initiative will be introduced in phases and covers the following areas:
- Energy Generation – solar energy
- Energy Efficiency – hot water assets, lighting and cooking
- Water Security – water reticulation, pumping, harvesting and storage
- Recycling – responsible waste disposal
A number of significant milestones have been reached since launching ECO SMART in July 2018. Huge strides have been made in improving our water security, while we have also introduced water tanks to successfully harvest rainwater.
Among the most exciting development has been the design and installation of 1,121 PV solar panels on several classrooms, the dining hall, both school halls, two residences, the library, the administrative building and the sanatorium. The solar energy solution, managed by specialists in the field, Genergy, will upon completion in June 2019, generate up to 579.26 MWh and reduce the school’s CO2 emissions by roughly 597 tons per annum.
The solar PV system for Woodridge will have a capacity of 369.93kWp/337kVA, enough to power around 163 average South African households. Being a grid-tied system, excess energy generated will be pushed back into the grid. This means the school will be using the municipality’s net-metering credit system whereby any electricity fed into the grid can effectively be banked for later usage during the same time of use bracket it was generated in. In time, Woodridge hopes to invest in a back-up system, which includes a bank of batteries to draw from during power outages.
Apart from enhancing the energy security of the school and its long-term sustainability goals, the system could, over its 20-year lifespan save 10,935 metric tons of carbon emissions, 15,394 kilolitres of water and the planting of 29,727 trees.
Why is Woodridge becoming ECO SMART?
Woodridge will be placed among a select few schools that have taken significant steps to implement sustainable methods throughout their facilities. This ensures that we live up to our responsibility towards the environment and foster an eco-conscious ethos that inspires future generations.
Part of the school’s ECO SMART initiative, under the direction of Woodridge alumnus Ray Holmes, is the aim to become a leading eco-school in South Africa and a leading globally registered eco-school. Such a goal includes having the lowest carbon footprint per child.
The ECO SMART initiative is enabling a positive change across the school campus, creating a meaningful shift towards sustainability for all aspects of life at Woodridge.
Funding for the solar solution was sourced from Standard Bank. With all the panels in use, the school anticipates a 30% reduction in energy consumption costs. Having built into the equation the expected price increase of electricity, the school intends to pay off the initial financial outlay in seven to eight years.
If you would like to donate to ECO SMART and be a part of Woodridge’s transition into an Eco-School, the relevant bank details are as follows:
Account name: Woodridge Trust
Bank name: Standard Bank
Account number: 080372120
Type of account: Business Current Account
Branch: Port Elizabeth
Branch code: 050017
Reference: Ecosmart / Surname / Class Year (if applicable) / Parent (if applicable)Example: Ecosmart / Niemann / ’98 / Parent
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