School Prestigious Sustainability Award

The Premier honoured John Paul College with Queensland’s most prestigious community sustainability award at Friday night’s Premier’s Sustainability Awards.

The innovative school in Daisy Hill won the Community Award for its work to reduce the school’s impact on the environment and for its comprehensive environmental education and awareness program.

Speaking at Friday’s gala awards dinner, Premier Campbell Newman said by linking sustainable operations into its curriculum and culture, John Paul College had created a holistic sustainable learning environment.

“Today, the 100-acre school has reduced water consumption from 88 megalitres to 18; completed stage 1 of a three-stage plan to reduce energy consumption by 33 per cent; and introduced a campus-wide recycling program to cut waste this year by 30 per cent,” Mr Newman said.

The award recognises the K to 12 co-educational school for reducing its carbon emissions, taking action to abate climate change and improving business sustainability.

The school has invested heavily in irrigation studies, turf and water management and energy management systems—including installing 10 tank farms; creating bores, waterways and wetland ecosystems; designing a pool plant recycling facility; installing water conserving facilities and implementing best-practice water and energy monitoring software.

The real-time reporting systems allow the school to continually monitor power distribution points, analyse consumption trends and triggers, and minimise energy consumption; while their 9000 watt solar power generation system—with more than 44 solar panels—generates more than 100,000 watts per month, or 12 megawatts per year.

Both works staff and teachers work together to embed the research, development and practice of sustainability into the college’s curriculum and community consciousness.

John Paul College Headmaster Mr Peter Foster said he is incredibly proud to lead a landmark sustainable school for Queensland and Australia.

“Our students and staff, after years in an environment of daily teaching and learning eco-efficiency from each other—and being asked, not instructed—today make informed and thoughtful choices about how they use grass, paths, water, power, plastics, waste bins and school resources at every turn,” Mr Foster said.

“Today John Paul College has substantially retrofitted or sustainably built its 58 buildings across a 100-acre campus, and we are creating our own sustainable community farm.

Accepting the award, Mr Foster paid homage to Mr Lucas Gilroy, the school’s Works and Property Manager, for his driving role in creating change by growing—and measuring, monitoring and managing—John Paul College’s resources and efficiency operations.

“Lucas’s vision and vigorous dedication to eco-efficiency, supported by a core team of sustainability champions, has set the school on carbon-free fire!”

But the horticultural expert credited the Headmaster with the success of John Paul College’s sustainability culture.

“Without Peter’s total support, leadership and vision to make John Paul College a sustainable school, we wouldn’t be here,” Lucas said.

“Fully backed by our board and senior leadership team, Peter is prepared to take risks to invest in this work—with the foremost goal not to save utility dollars but to embed this thinking and practice into our learning environment and grow aware, responsible, world-changing citizens.”

The Premier’s Sustainability Awards is the Queensland Government’s highest recognition of community and business leadership in sustainability, innovation and eco-efficiency.