W.D. Ferris Elementary School in Richmond, BC
W. D. Ferris Elementary School is a thriving community of learners. Students from Kindergarten to Grade 7 live by the school’s H.E.A.R.T. motto which also informs the school’s approach to sustainability
As part of a learning strategy, students at Ferris Elementary conduct regular audits to help them identify issues and find solutions. They also launched seasonal campaigns to help change energy use behaviours. As a result, the school has seen a two per cent reduction in electricity use since 2013--despite adding to the plug load.
To further realize energy savings, the school invested in a recent boiler upgrade, achieving a 32 per cent reduction in natural gas use since 2013. Automated energy control systems are used to monitor temperature changes, and the use of daylight is prominent throughout the school.
Decreasing Waste & Water Use
A six-bin waste system helped Ferris achieve 80 per cent waste diversion since 2007. The school has partnered with the City of Richmond on a flexible packaging pilot project and is working with its hot lunch provider to address single use plastics. By removing vending machines and recycling 250,000 beverage containers, the school funded two water bottle refilling stations and has achieved a five per cent reduction in water use.
To reduce food waste, the school reversed the lunch schedule, so students play before eating. This made the students more likely to eat their lunch, contributing to a 95 per cent reduction in food waste.
Ferris Elementary encourages active transportation to and from the school with walk-to-school and learn-to-bike programs. To limit traffic around the school and encourage students and staff to walk more, the school closed the drop-off loop to traffic—resulting in improved safety for all.
Enriching the Human Experience
The school focuses on air quality and cleanliness, with the use of Ph neutral cleaners and minimal carpet use. Classrooms are scent-free, with low VOC paints and furnishings. Instead of chalk, they use whiteboards and classroom air filters are replaced monthly. For students with severe allergies, HEPA filters are used.
Benefiting the Community
W.D. Ferris Elementary is a welcoming place for the community, with outdoor grass fields that are used as multi-use spaces. In the community, classes have been involved in the Great Canadian Shoreline cleanup since 2007 and they regularly host district-wide ECO-Cafés, where green leaders meet to share successes and challenges. In this way, Ferris Elementary gives back to the community by encouraging others to reduce their ecological footprint.