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John Paul College
01 October, 2014

Enabling an innovative school sustainability program

At John Paul College students lead the way, using AARNet to access real-time data and make decisions promoting sustainable practices on campus and in the wider community.

AARNet removes technical barriers for the development of an innovative school sustainability program

At John Paul College (JPC) in Queensland, students use AARNet to access to real-time live data on College power and water usage and solar power generation; from this, scenarios are played out and real decisions are made to make JPC a more sustainable environment.

For JPC, investment in the technology to give students and staff access to this kind of information has been significant and is on-going. Headmaster Peter Foster says the cost savings already evident and the positive lifestyle impacts on the community as a whole justifies the investment.

Development of technology for the sustainability program will continue, with the assistance and input of JPC students and community members, to provide visual game-style room-by-room scenario analysis and controls all the way to the device level.

The students and the community are also developing a sustainable farm on campus. One initiative underway is the planting of trees known to be a koala food source, with the aim of maintaining the local koala population.

Since the program began, the College has received considerable feedback from the wider community regarding the positive impact students are having at home and on those they interact with. They are helping others make sustainable decisions and develop positive habits.

“This work is driven by the unity of the college community. It stems from our goals and objectives and influences, and is also influenced by, our wider stakeholder and community groups. It’s a whole-community investment. We listen to our students and foster a culture of pride in what they’re doing. We want to be a sustainable school."

He says the goal isn’t achieving utility cost savings, it is cultivating responsible, empowered contributing citizens who take these sustainable approaches out into the world.

Sustainability at John Paul College involves the entire community, he explains: staff, students, parents and others within the College family. It is a pattern of behaviour and a process of decision making bringing together new ideas, science and technology all working together for better outcomes.