The 2019 Greenest School in Canada is W. D. Ferris Elementary

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W.D. Ferris Elementary School in Richmond, BC is this year’s Canada Green Building Council’s (CaGBC) Greenest School in Canada competition winner. The school will receive a $2,000 cash award to put toward a new or ongoing sustainability project.

“The Ferris school community is very honoured to be chosen as Canada’s Greenest School for 2019 by the Canada Green Building Council. We also want to acknowledge the hard work done by students and staff daily in schools across Canada to educate their communities about environmental stewardship,” said Diane Steele, Principal of W. D. Ferris Elementary. “We encourage all schools to inspire green minded change in their communities.”

The CaGBC’s Greenest School brings together a jury comprised of green building industry experts from different sectors, to review applications from across the country.

Over the past six years, schools have been judged on: how environmental education is emphasized; their conservation programs and efforts; how school facilities benefit the health of occupants; and the schools’ community initiatives.

W.D. Ferris Elementary stood out among the other submissions for its commitment to reducing its environmental footprint—and encouraging others to do the same.

Their application highlighted the school’s efforts around waste reduction, water and energy conservation, community involvement, and commitment to active transportation.

According to the CaGBC, Ferris’ focus on audits of the school’s energy and water usage, as well as audits of the amount of garbage produced, have led to significant improvements backed by data:

  • Regular waste audits have helped improve waste diversion by 80 per cent since 2007.
  • Through rescheduling lunch period, fermentation, vermicomposting and traditional composting projects, achieved a 95 per cent reduction of food waste.
  • Paid for the installation of two water bottle refilling stations by recycling 250,000 bottles.
  • By monitoring usage, achieved a two per cent reduction in electrical use since 2013, despite adding to the plug load.
  • An upgraded boiler has helped achieve 32 per cent reduction in natural gas use since 2013.
  • Achieved a five per cent reduction in water use.
  • Championing plastic waste reduction through participation in the Great Canadian Shoreline cleanup since 2007, and engaging students in a petition and letter writing campaign to municipal leaders.
  • Commitment to active transportation, encouraging staff and students to walk or ride to school, including hosting learn-to-bike clinics.

“I would like to congratulate W. D. Ferris Elementary School, the Greenest School in Canada for 2019,” says Thomas Mueller, President and CEO of the CaGBC. “At CaGBC, we believe that focusing on sustainability delivers tangible benefits, not only in energy savings and waste reduction, but in improved human health and wellbeing. Ferris Elementary ticks all these boxes with waste reduction programs, building system improvements, and initiatives that positively impact student’s lives. This approach sets an excellent example for Canadian schools and demonstrates ways we can better empower students to take on leadership roles.”

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