June 8, 2022

Top Solutions to Reduce Schools' Carbon Footprint in Singapore

Studies show that most schools use the bulk of their budgets on energy-related costs, which significantly contribute to greenhouse gasses. The good thing about it is that there are steps that you can take to cut down your carbon footprint. Keep reading as we delve deeper into the concept of carbon footprint and outline some of the best strategies that Singapore schools can use to pull it down.

Brice Degeyter
Brice Degeyter
Bizsu founder
Carbon footprint

Man-made climate change is the biggest threat to our planet, and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has said that the time to act is “now or never.” The threats of climate change, such as rapid thawing of polar ice, sinking coastal cities, and loss of biodiversity, are already evident. Because greenhouse gases (GHG) are the main causes of global warming, it is time for all, from the large corporations to individuals, to reduce their carbon footprint.

What is Carbon Footprint?

This is the total amount of greenhouse gasses (GHG), which includes methane and carbon dioxide that is generated by an action, product, person, or institution. In our context, it means all the greenhouse gases that are produced by a school.

To know the actual carbon footprint of your school, you have to accurately calculate the direct emissions from equipment like machinery in the facility and then add the indirect sources. A good example of an indirect source of GHG is electricity. Although using electricity for lighting classrooms and offices might not appear linked to global warming, it is because the company selling power to your school might have released emissions into the atmosphere.

Why Reducing Carbon Footprint is Important for Your School

We have already mentioned that cutting down carbon footprint will come in handy in saving our planet from imminent destruction, but this is not all. As a learning institution in Singapore, you will also enjoy the following specific benefits from it:

  • Reduces the cost of operations.
  • Provides a better connection between students and school management.
  • Builds a better attachment and engagement between the school and community.
  • Gives the school, students, and community a sense of pride for being part of the solution to the current woes facing the planet.
  • Sets the pace for other institutions to also cut down their carbon footprint.
  • Helps restore natural habitats and species diversity.

The Best Strategies for Cutting Down School Carbon Footprint

The benefits we have listed above are only a scratch on the surface of what your school in Singapore should anticipate for cutting down its carbon footprint. So, let’s get down to it, “What are the best strategies that you can use to cut down your school’s carbon footprint and help save the planet?”

Start by Creating a Carbon Footprint Reduction Plan

You can only cut down your school's carbon footprint after determining the current levels. This means carrying out a comprehensive review of the school system to determine the main sources of greenhouse gasses (GHG). Then, create a reliable and workable plan. You might want to consider bringing on board an expert to help you create a good plan for carbon footprint reduction.

A good plan starts with a specific goal. For example, you might want to cut down the emissions by 30% in five years, 60% in ten years, and become carbon-free in 20 years. Then, identify the strategies that can help you achieve the targeted reduction levels and budget for it. Consider adopting a combination of methods from the list discussed in this post.

Another important part of the plan to cut down carbon footprint in school is regular assessments to ensure your targets are being met. If you notice that the short-term targets are getting missed, consider making changes. It will also be a good idea to create regular sustainability reports and publish them so that stakeholders, from the government departments in Singapore to international organizations, can appreciate them.

Cut Down Emissions Coming from the Transport System

For most students, getting to school and back home takes a lot of energy. Some use public transport and other diesel-fired school buses. These not only contribute to poor air quality and bad health for students, but it is also a major source of emissions that accelerate global warming. Buses used for delivering supplies to schools can also push up the carbon footprint.

As a school administrator, there are numerous things you can do to cut down emissions from transport and logistics-related sources:

  • Maintain the cars, trucks, and buses used for transport in top condition to ensure they do release minimal emissions. For example, their exhausts can be installed with scrubbers to clear off harmful emissions.
  • Shift from diesel-fired buses to electric models for student transport.
  • Consider an online or hybrid learning model. During the COVID-19 pandemic, people appreciated that it is possible for students to learn without having to travel to school. A total shift to virtual learning can help to cut down energy use by up to 90% and emissions by almost the same margin. Even if it is only a small portion of learning, perhaps 30%, that gets shifted online, it will still go a long way in cutting down carbon footprint.

Go for Green Alternatives in Your School

When searching for a method of reducing carbon footprint, one of the powerful options is selecting green alternatives. The idea is to ensure that every opportunity is utilized to cut down unnecessary wastage, especially those that result in higher energy use.

For example, your school can go paperless by shifting to digital methods of communication. Receipts, student exams, and board meeting reports can all be shifted to digital systems. This means that trees that could have been cut to make the papers will be saved. Emissions that could have been released during paper processing would also be eliminated. Other options for going green include:

  • Install solar panels to make your own electricity as a way of cutting down reliance on the grid.
  • Consider using only the raw materials that are sourced from eco-friendly suppliers.
  • Buy from local suppliers to cut down the emission that could have been produced when moving products bought abroad. For example, you can buy locally produced rice or import it from neighboring countries instead of jurisdictions located further away.

Use Energy Smartly in Your School

If you can cut down the energy use in your school in Singapore, this will be a huge step in reducing the carbon footprint. There are various methods that you can adopt to cut down energy use in your institution, including:

  • Increase the efficiency of the HVAC system with Continewm. This is a device installed in an HVAC system to help reduce the creation and build-up of positive charges that result from friction of the moving air. The effect is a smooth operation of your HVAC, greater efficiency, lower electricity bills, and improved air quality in schools.
  • Replace traditional incandescent lamps with energy-efficient lamps, such as LED and CFLs. In addition to being energy-efficient, LED lamps are also longer lasting.
  • Use smart energy management systems to ensure that lighting and HVAC systems only work when needed. For example, the system will easily sense when classes are empty and turn the lights off. They also go on automatically after detecting motion.

Involve More Stakeholders

When you start working on a plan to cut down your carbon footprint, it can feel like a daunting task. For most school administrators, the idea of carbon footprint reduction invokes things such as changing the entire HVAC system, buying new electric buses, and training staff. However, this does not have to be scary or a lone journey.

The truth is that you can take small actions and progressively achieve the pre-set goal. The road will be pretty smooth and enjoyable when trodden together with other stakeholders, including:

  • Students: The good thing about working with students is that you will be nurturing skills they will apply for years to come. Whether it is through green school projects or adding concepts on climate change in coursework, they will be willing to help make the world a better place.
  • Faculty and Staff: Teachers play a key role not only in influencing students but also in the development of the school community. Engaging the faculty and staff with such climate change solutions will be very beneficial. The Climate Fresk is an IPCC-based interactive workshop to help participants learn and clearly communicate the causes and complexities of climate change. It is one of the most effective tools and platforms to understand the bigger picture with a solutions-driven approach. 
  • The Community and Local Administration: The community around your school will appreciate it when they realize the school’s plan to make the planet a better place. The local administration will also want to be involved and even set the school as a reference point for others. This might be a perfect moment to justify the possible need for more funds from the board or investors to implement the green initiatives.
  • Business and International Community: As we indicated at the beginning, more parties at the local and international level, such as the UN, and stock markets, are alarmed about the current threats facing the planet. Therefore, they will be willing to come in and form partnerships with you. This appreciation and support might be all that you need to move on with the efforts of cutting down the carbon footprint in your school in Singapore.

Reducing your carbon footprint is one of the important efforts that every party on the planet should focus on because the dangers of global warming are threatening all. The initiatives we have listed in this post are some of the best picks. You should also consider cutting down on waste, recycling water, changing buying habits, using less plastic, and planting trees in the school and away.

Make your school in Singapore count in the fight to restore the planet's lost glory by cutting down your carbon footprint.