The 2019 Greenest School in Canada is Richmond BC’s W. D. Ferris Elementary

Annual Canada Green Building Council competition highlights sustainability in the infrastructure, community relations and curriculum

OTTAWA, Sept. 26, 2019 – As part of World Green Building Week, the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) and the Canada Coalition for Green Schools are happy to announce the winner of the annual Greenest School in Canada competition is Ferris Elementary School in Richmond, BC.

Now in its sixth year, the CaGBC Greenest School brings together a jury comprised of green building industry experts from different sectors, to review applications from across the country. Schools are 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.

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.


As the 2019 Greenest School in Canada winners, Ferris Elementary 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.”

For a closer look at the school and its many initiatives please visit the CaGBC's website.

"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.”

The runners up of the 2019 Greenest School in Canada competition were:

Second Place: Career and Technology Centre at Central Memorial High School in Calgary, AB.

A close runner up, the Career and Technology Center at Central Memorial has become a regional hub for environmental education and leadership. The CTC’s community garden space and biophilic design has a positive impact on the student body by providing nourishing food, and a calming atmosphere. Currently students are involved in a pilot project to test LED lighting that will benefit schools across the district.

Third Place: Westwood Community High School in Fort McMurray, AB.

Westwood Community High School boasts two teaching greenhouses, featuring an irrigation system run on solar power and collected rain water, and compost provided by the school’s digester cone composters. Produce from their greenhouses supports their Farm to Table program. In addition, a new aquaponics project is helping students understand the impact of a living wall on air quality.

For the first time, all schools that submitted an entry to the Greenest School competition were given free access to Arc, a platform designed to help collect, manage and benchmark building data to help improve sustainability performance.

About Greenest School in Canada

Launched in 2014, this the Greenest School in Canada competition seeks to showcase kindergarten to Grade 12 schools across the country that truly exemplify how sustainability can be woven into the infrastructure, culture and curriculum of a school. The competition is part of a series of initiatives from the CaGBC and the Canada Coalition for Green Schools.

In addition to the Greenest School in Canada competition, CaGBC encourages Green Apple Day events in Canada at any time of the year, as a contribution to the larger initiative started by the U.S. Center for Green Schools. Green Apple Days gives parents, teachers, students, companies and local organizations the opportunity to transform all schools into healthy, safe and productive learning environments through local service events.

About the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC)

CaGBC is the leading national organization dedicated to advancing green building and sustainable community development practices. As the voice of green building in Canada, we work closely with our national and chapter members in an effort to make every building greener. The CaGBC reduces environmental impacts from the built environment through project certification, advocacy and research. CaGBC established the LEED® green building rating system in Canada and developed the country's first Zero Carbon Building Standard in May 2017. For more information

About the Canada Coalition for Green Schools

CaGBC joined the Global Coalition for Green Schools as a founding member in 2013, and went on to form the Canada Coalition for Green Schools ( that same year. The Canadian coalition is comprised of members of the green building industry contributing their time and expertise to support communities in the transformation of their schools.

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