Wellington East Girls' College aims to become a benefit to the environment


Wellington East Girls' College aims to become a benefit to the environment
  1. Wellington East Girls' College aims to become a benefit to the environment
    stuff.co.nz
    One Wellington high school wants to stamp out its carbon footprint – and that's only the short-term go…
    Education & Family
Niamh Murphy, left, and Josie Knight-Maclean, Wellington East Girls College environmental prefects, are campaigning to ... Maarten Holl

Niamh Murphy, left, and Josie Knight-Maclean, Wellington East Girl's College environmental prefects, are campaigning to get solar panels installed at their school to cut down the school's carbon footprint.

One Wellington high school wants to stamp out its carbon footprint – and that's only the short-term goal.

Wellington East Girls' College's environment committee hope their school will benefit the environment one day.

To help them get there, the committee is fundraising for solar panels to be installed as part of the school's ongoing rebuild, set to be complete in 2018.

The old main block is being rebuilt and is due to be finished in late 2018. The environment committee wants to have ... Maarten Holl

The old main block is being rebuilt and is due to be finished in late 2018. The environment committee wants to have solar panels installed as part of this.

Year 13 environmental prefects Niamh Murphy and Josie Knight-Maclean front the committee, which was last year given the go-ahead to fundraise by the board of trustees.

READ MORE: * Wellington East Girls' College will rebuild its 'heart' thanks to $39m upgrade * Wellington East Girls' College helps save the planet, one piece of paper at a time * Wellington schools to go solar

Knight-Maclean says it creates an opportunity to integrate renewable energy into the curriculum.

The solar panels are part of a larger goal to cut down the schools carbon footprint and eventually make it a benefit to ... Maarten Holl

The solar panels are part of a larger goal to cut down the school's carbon footprint and eventually make it a benefit to the environment.

"The solar panels will give us an opportunity to ... teach WEGC students something unique and relevant about their school that links to the big picture of sustainability and climate change."

The main goal of the committee is to inspire and engage the school and wider community to make permanent and positive eco-friendly lifestyle changes, she says.

Murphy says the committee wants to lead the way with technology and designs "to the point where hopefully in the future the buildings could be giving back more than they're taking from the environment".

"The big goal would be that the solar energy made during the school holidays will feed back into the grid for the local community to use," she says.

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"In the near future we aim for the school to have a zero carbon footprint with our long-term goal of having the school becoming a benefit for the local environment."

Knight-Maclean says the cost of installing solar panels that can provide 15 per cent of the school's power is $50,000. 

They have run bake sales and mufti-days at school, and for the rest of May are involved in Z Miramar's 'Good in the Hood' fundraising programme which will provide a share of $4000.

The project is student driven, which limits the amount of time spent organising fundraisers because of having to balance school work and extra-curricular activities, Knight-Maclean says.

But she is confident in their efforts.

"Ultimately we want to have the whole school run off self-sufficient renewable energy and because of this the project has scope to grow and develop, therefore we will be looking at ways we can secure further funds in the future," she says.

The group has previously made visits to Matiu/Somes Island with the Department of Conservation, held fundraisers for animal charities and has a big focus on re…