Sky's the limit for green warriors
[First published on 31 January, 2011] Island School has shown that action speaks louder than words by installing solar panels and wind turbines on its rooftop.
The devices have helped the school reduce its carbon footprint and boost environmental awareness among its students.
The Solar Panel and Wind Turbine Project is the first of its kind among ESF (English Schools Foundation) schools. The devices are connected to the school's electricity supply to power its lights and equipment.
The initiative was launched by the school's green group, Wanbo Warriors. It is financially supported by the government's Environment and Conservation Fund and Environmental Campaign Committee.
Jonathan Kong, 17, the student leader of the project, said: 'Wanbo Warriors have been involved in monitoring carbon emissions released in the school. I noticed that our electricity bill has gone up by 10 per cent every year. So I started to think about developing a big project using renewable resources.'
Jonathan then got together with nine other students and Jonathan Horner - the school's head of science - to start the preliminary work on the project.
The team drafted letters seeking funding from the government, sought support from the school by distributing petitions, and collected 700 signatures. They also made a presentation to the whole school to enhance students' understanding about the issue. They used the money given by the government to buy solar panels and wind turbines from a Norwegian company.
Jonathan, a Year 13 student, is proud of their achievements. 'On average, the solar panels and wind turbines generate about 20 kilowatts of energy every day, which helps to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about 200kg,' he said. 'We are able to save HK$200 on the school's electricity bill every month, and 10 per cent of the total bill for the science block.'
The team has also developed an educational package - 'Sunny Portal' - which highlights the advantages of the green devices. The package is being used as a teaching aid in various subjects.
'Hopefully this [project] will help Island School students to remember to be environmentally friendly at all times. We plan to extend the project so the devices can generate electricity for the whole school in the future,' said Jonathan.