July 15, 2022

What is Singapore’s Schools Contribution in the Overall Carbon Footprint?

Schools in Singapore, like large businesses, release a lot of greenhouse gasses and, therefore, can have a significant impact on addressing global warming by cutting down their carbon footprint. Keep reading to learn more about carbon footprint in Singapore schools, how it is calculated, and the best strategies for cutting it down.

Gaurika Pant
Gaurika Pant
Carbon Footprint

Global warming is the most challenging threat facing the planet today, and everyone has to join hands to address the causes. The problem is caused by the release of excess greenhouse gasses that trap and progressively raise the surface temperatures. Experts have already ringed the warning bell, saying that any further rise in surface temperatures could have catastrophic effects. Everybody has to be involved, and the results can only be possible when we cut down our carbon footprints and achieve carbon neutral status. 

What is Carbon Footprint? 

This is the total amount of greenhouse gasses (GHG) that are generated by a person, institution, city, or country. The carbon footprint can also be calculated for an individual person or product. Therefore, the carbon footprint of a school is the sum of emissions that come from all areas, including the kitchen, transport, heating, lighting, and air conditioning. 

Emissions from indirect actions, such as carbon dioxide released during production of materials and products sourced by the school, should also be included. When calculating the carbon footprint of an institution, it is important to be as accurate as possible. You might want to consider using an appropriate sustainability framework, such as the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), to make tracking and calculating carbon footprint accurate.

Singapore Schools Contribution to the Overall Carbon Footprint

Singapore has been at the frontline in pushing for the reduction of carbon footprint by all schools in the country. In 2021, the Ministry of Education started the Singapore Green Plan program to cut down 2/3 of the net carbon emissions from schools by 2030. The average carbon footprint for schools in Singapore is 9.4 metric tons per year, and it is contributed by air conditioning, lighting, transport, and waste from the institutions, among other sources. 

The ministry also targets to enhance environmental sustainability so that schools do not just focus on cutting down emissions but also improve other areas for healthier living. Particularly, it is developing sustainability initiatives to help students connect learning to their lives away from school. 

What are the Best Methods of Reducing Carbon Footprint in Singapore? 

Now that you know the benefits that come from reducing your school's carbon footprint, the next thing is cutting it down. Here are some methods that you can apply to reduce your school's carbon footprint: 

Determine What is the Current Carbon Footprint of Your School 

You cannot reduce what you do not know. Therefore, the first step to cutting down carbon footprint is calculating the current level. So, start by identifying all the sources of greenhouse gasses in the three main categories: Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3. 

  1. Scope 1: These are greenhouse gasses that result from the direct activities of an organization. For example, if you have generators that use gasoline and boilers, the emissions generated fall into this category. Greenhouse gasses from the school transport vehicles are also Scope 1 type of emissions.
  2. Scope 2: These emissions result from your school's energy use. Although you are not releasing the emissions directly into the atmosphere, it pushes the production up through raised demand. This is why cutting down energy use is an important part of reducing carbon footprint. 
  3. Scope 3: Emissions in this category are indirect, and your school might not have direct control. For example, methane released by the waste from your school falls into this category. Greenhouse gasses from companies in the supply chain are also considered Scope 3. 

Once you have identified all the sources and quantities of greenhouse gasses, use an appropriate carbon footprint calculator. Then, set a clear target and plan how to reduce the carbon footprint. For example, you might aim at cutting footprint by 75% by 2030 and achieve a carbon neutral status in the subsequent 10 years. 

Train Your Staff and Involve Students on Eco-Friendly Operations 

The policy that you adopt for eco-friendly operation in your Singapore school has to be implemented by staff and students. Therefore, these parties need to be equipped with ample knowledge of sustainability and its importance. For example, training your employees about carbon footprint will empower them to act more responsibly. They will always remember to turn off lights, computers, and other machines when not in use. 

Training staff and students also come in handy in taking the important message about sustainability to the entire community. If each homestead, business, company, and individual in Singapore can take a positive initiative towards sustainability, the country can cut down its overall carbon footprint by a big margin. 

Partner with Other Stakeholders 

The journey of cutting down carbon footprint can feel lonely and challenging. Therefore, you should consider identifying and working with other parties that have the same goals for sustainability. You will realize that a lot of parties are willing to join and even offer some assistance because they also want to help make the planet a better place. 

The local authorities in Singapore will be willing to partner with you in helping Singapore achieve carbon-neutral status. International non-profits and standards organizations will also want to be involved as a way of encouraging other schools to follow suit. A good example is Climate Fresk. 

If you are experiencing difficulties in calculating, planning, and implementing carbon footprint reduction strategies, experts might also come in handy. Having helped other organizations to realize their sustainability goals, you can also count on them to seamlessly transform your school into an eco-friendly institution. 

Cut Down Energy Use in Your School 

One of the best methods of cutting down carbon footprint in your Singapore school is reducing energy use. Energy, whether in the form of electricity, or gas, falls into Scope 2 emissions, and you should look for creative ways of cutting down its use. The lovely thing about reducing energy use is that it also pulls down the related bills. Here are some methods that you can use to reduce the energy bill

1. Change the Lighting from Incandescent to LED lamps 

Does your school use traditional incandescent lamps? If the answer is "yes," know that these lamps are wasting a lot of energy, resulting in high carbon footprint and unnecessary power bills. The main issue with incandescent lamps is that they have to heat filaments until they are red hot to generate light. 

Instead of using inefficient incandescent lamps, the better option is turning to LED lighting fixtures. They produce higher quality light and use 75% less energy compared to incandescent lamps. They also last over a longer period, implying that you do not have to keep replacing them often.  

2. Increase the Efficiency of the HVAC System 

Air conditioning systems in Singapore schools account for a huge amount of energy, approximately 50%. Since they are very important in enhancing the indoor air quality of the institutions, you should work on enhancing their efficiency. The first method to achieve this high efficiency is ensuring the HVAC system is maintained in top condition all the time. So, have the ducts and fans, among other parts, checked regularly to ensure the system is running optimally. 

Another excellent method of enhancing the efficiency of the HVAC system is using CONTINEWM. This is a device that helps to clear electrostatic charges of a HVAC system to make airflow smooth. When air passes through an air conditioner, it generates positive charges, which can accumulate and prevent smooth flow in the system. The impact is the high inefficiency of the HVAC, which makes the system work harder and use more energy. 

CONTINEWM works by releasing negative charges that prevent the buildup of positive electrostatic charges in the system. The effect is reducing the resistance in the flow of air and enhancing the efficiency of the HVAC system. CONTINEWM can also help to remove bad odor components from the air getting into the system. Note that CONTINEWM is pretty easy to install because it is fixed on the front part of the heat exchanger.

Shift to Sustainable Energy Sources 

The world all over is moving away from fossil-based sources of energy because they contribute the largest amount of greenhouse gas emissions. As a school, you should also explore this alternative. Consider installing solar panels to harness solar energy and use it to power part of or the entire school. You might also want to shift to electric cars for student and staff transport to reduce the reliance on diesel cars or trucks. 

This post has demonstrated that schools in Singapore contribute a significant amount of greenhouse gasses, but the good thing is that they can use the strategies we have listed in this post to reduce their carbon footprint. Remember that there is no single method that can help to cut down carbon footprint. Instead, you should identify several methods and stick to an appropriate plan to keep the emissions low. For example, you might want to consider installing CONTINEWM and training to help cut down energy use and move towards carbon neutral status.