Dunbarton High School in Pickering, Ontario, has been named the Greenest School on Earth for 2015 by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The annual competition recognizes sustainability in building operations, the educational curriculum and students’ and staff’s daily activities, and aims to promote a better understanding of the interconnectedness of those three elements.
This year’s competition featured 40 schools from 20 countries worldwide. Dunbarton High School, which was the 2014 winner of the Canada Green Building Council’s (CaGBC) greenest school contest, exemplifies efforts to reduce and mitigate environmental impact, improve occupant health and encourage eco-literacy.
Among its educational programs, students can choose a specialist high-skills major in the environment. They also have the opportunity to learn in an unique outdoor classroom, including a 500-square-metre pollinator garden. Energy-efficient windows, insulation and lighting have been installed in the 1960s-era building over the past five years, along with a rooftop solar water heater.
“Dunbarton High School is an excellent example of a school that engages its students at every turn, placing them in the driver’s seat and empowering them to improve their environment, inside and out,” says Rachel Gutter, director of the USGBC’s Center for Green Schools.
The school has received a $1,000 prize along with the 2015 title, which will go toward the construction of 10 new bee condominiums for its garden.
“In Pickering, we receive nothing but support for our sustainability initiatives from the (Durham District Public) board, Pickering Councl, local businesses, parents, universities and NGOs,” observes David Gordon, a Dunbarton High teacher and EviroClub program leader. “It is a great gift for us to be in this community and have the ability to provide students with so many fantastic opportunities related to sustainability.”