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C20 Climate change and greenhouse gas reduction policies and programs

C20 Climate change and greenhouse gas reduction policies and programs

Carbon neutrality in public schools

The Directorate's priorities in climate change and greenhouse gas reduction are informed by the strategic pathway outlined in AP2: A new climate change strategy and action plan for the Australian Capital Territory. The Directorate continues to pursue initiatives aimed at delivering the ACT Government's objective for public schools to be carbon neutral by 2017.

Photovoltaic (solar panel) systems

The Directorate established contracts with six solar panel supply and installation companies in 2010-11 to install roof mounted photovoltaic [(PV), (solar)] systems at all public schools. Systems were installed at 55 schools in the reporting year bringing the total number of schools with a solar panel system to 80. The installation of solar panel systems for the final six schools will occur early in the 2013-14 year.

A feasibility study for the installation of 175kW systems at the Hedley Beare Centre for Teaching and Learning was completed in the 2011-12 reporting year. Feasibility studies for the expansion of the PV systems at Franklin Early Childhood School and Neville Bonner Primary School were commenced late in the reporting year and are expected to be completed in 2013-14.


Public schools were approved in the previous reporting year for the maximum tariff rate (45.7 cents/kWh) under the ACT Feed-in-Tariff scheme for small-scale systems. The collective size of solar panel installations at public schools approved under this scheme was 1,192kW. Fifty-one solar panel systems installed during 2011-12 and 2012-13 generated Feed-in-Tariffs during the reporting year. The income generated by these solar panel systems will be used by schools to implement further sustainability measures. To support schools, financial reporting guidelines and Feed-in-Tariff investment guidelines were developed in the reporting year. These guidelines will be finalised and distributed to all schools in 2013-14.

Pulse (smart) meters

The Directorate continued to roll out the installation of smart meter technology at all public schools to capture electricity, gas and water consumption and solar energy generation. These meters provide schools with 'real time' data on consumption and energy generation which will support both the management of energy and water use by schools and through a web-based interface, the development of curriculum studies for students. The web-based interface is publicly accessible at

Installation and commissioning of the pulse meters for electricity, water and solar energy generation were completed at 32 schools during the reporting period bringing the total number of completed schools to 51. Scoping work was completed for all remaining schools and the installations will be completed in the first quarter of 2013-14. Scoping work was also completed in the reporting year for gas pulse meters at all schools. An installation procedure has been developed and is awaiting final approval from the relevant regulatory authorities. Installation of the gas smart meters will be completed in 2013-14.

Energy efficient lamp retrofits

Reducing energy consumption in 2012-13 was an ongoing priority for schools. Lighting in all refurbished areas in public schools continued to be upgraded to energy efficient fittings as part of the standard works of capital upgrades.

A Light Emitting Diode (LED) lighting trial was completed at Caroline Chisholm School (junior campus) in the reporting year. The project involved retrofitting existing T8 fluorescent lamps with energy efficient LED T8 lamps. Pre-retrofit energy data was collected from the lighting electrical circuits as well as lighting (lux) levels. Post-retrofit data will be collected in the 2013-14 reporting year.

External solar lighting

The installation of two external solar powered lights was trialed at Palmerston District Primary School in the reporting year. Scoping work for the provision of four outdoor solar powered lights at the Canberra College Performing Arts Centre was completed in the reporting year and installation of the lights will be completed in 2013-14.

Carbon Neutral Schools

Stage 1 of the Carbon Neutral Schools project continued to be rolled out by the Directorate in the reporting year. Stage 1 of this project involved the installation of high efficiency internal lighting and high rating roof insulation at 10 selected schools. Two schools have been identified as full carbon neutral trial sites and additional works will be undertaken where feasible. These include upgrades to improve heating efficiency, replacement of windows in high use rooms with thermal resistant glass, provision of window furnishings and the construction of covered and secure bike shelters to promote and encourage active travel to school. The 10 schools are:

The following works were completed in the reporting year:

PC Power Management

Following a successful trial of PC Power Management software at five schools in the
2010-11 reporting year, the Directorate purchased 16,756 Verismic Power Manager licences to be deployed by Shared Services ICT across all public schools. Software design and testing work was completed in the reporting year and the software will be rolled out in 2013-14 alongside the deployment of SchoolsNET. An equivalent number of free home-use licences will also be distributed to students in 2013-14.

Carbon Neutral Government Loan Fund

The ESDD administers the Carbon Neutral Government Loan Fund (the Fund) announced in the 2012-13 ACT Budget. The Fund provides loan support to ACT Government agencies to undertake larger scale energy and resource efficiency projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The Directorate was successful in its application to the Fund for $1,528,168 (GST exclusive) to replace existing T8 lamps with LED lamps at 10 public schools and for $72,704 (GST exclusive) for the provision of a new solar hot water system for Erindale College (including the Leisure Centre). Preliminary scoping work for both of these projects was completed in the reporting year. Design, documentation and installation of both projects will be completed in 2013-14.

Each school that participates in the loan program will use the annual financial savings generated from these energy efficiency measures to repay the loan. The payback period for both projects has been calculated to be on average six years. However, financial savings are anticipated to continue beyond the six year payback period as the life span of the technologies implemented extends well beyond the six year loan payback period. A measurement and verification of savings plan will be implemented, informed by the International Performance Measurement and Verification Protocol, to measure the actual versus anticipated energy savings from these projects.

Other initiatives

As capital works are undertaken at public schools, including new facilities, building upgrades and refurbishments, opportunities are taken to improve the energy efficiency of these spaces. This includes solar passive design, natural ventilation and thermal comfort, lighting upgrades, solar tubes and roof insulation. Details of capital works completed in the 2012-13 reporting year are found in Section C14.

For more information contact:
Schools Capital Works
(02) 6205 3173