November 25, 2022
What is the Average GHG Emissions of Singapore Schools and Ways to Reduce It?
The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, has compared the planet to a vehicle on the “highway to climate hell with our foot still on the accelerator” during the recent COP27 summit in Egypt. This warning is coming hot on the heels of another warning from the Paris Climate Conference of 2015 that called on governments to use every means to pull down global warming to below 1.5 degrees Celsius. With the dangers facing us becoming clearer than at any other time in the past, we must act fast to avert the looming catastrophes. Schools are some of the big greenhouse gas (GHG) emitters, and they have to get involved in helping to wrestle down the ballooning problem of global warming. So, how can they cut down their carbon footprints? Keep reading to learn more about sustainability in schools and the efforts they have adopted to reduce their carbon footprints.
What is Carbon Footprint?
Before looking at the carbon footprint in schools and establishing its levels, it is prudent to understand what it is. Carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases (GHG) that are emitted by an organisation, business, institution, or country. You can even calculate the carbon footprint of an individual person or product. In this post, we are focusing on the emissions released by schools in Singapore.
The emissions which are used to calculate the levels of carbon footprint are divided into three scopes. Scope 1 denotes emissions that are released directly by actions or sources that a school controls directly. Good examples are emissions from fossil-fired boilers and school vehicle’s internal combustion systems.
Scope 2 types are emissions associated with utility bills and the use of energy. The principle behind this is that when you use energy, you are responsible for the emissions produced to generate it. So, this category is calculated based on the electricity, heat, and gas use in an institution.
The last, Scope 3, represents emissions that are released by your organisation indirectly. This means that although you are not in control, the actions of your company are still related to the emissions. For example, if companies that supply food to school release a lot of emissions to produce them, your institution is also responsible for it. Methane gas from the waste of your school also falls into this category.
The Main Dangers Associated with High Carbon Footprint
A high level of carbon footprint means that a school or institution is releasing excess emissions that result in global warming. This is a risk not only to the school but the entire planet. So, here are the main dangers associated with high emissions levels:
- Increases the intensity of droughts that are being experienced on the planet today.
- Accelerating thawing of water frozen in mountains and polar extremities.
- Results in high energy-related bills.
- Damages the air quality and compromises the learning/working condition in schools and organisations.
- Results in poor ESG rating of schools or organisations.
- High emission levels imply that your school is contributing to the rapid loss of biodiversity.
The Average GHG Emissions of Singapore Schools
Singapore schools are some of the heavy emitters of greenhouse gases (GHG), which makes them crucial players if the country is to achieve its target of achieving net zero carbon status. The average carbon footprint for Singapore schools is 9.2 metric tonnes per year. Between 2013 and 2016, the overall carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from Singapore shot from 45.3 to 48.3 million metric tons.
To help the planet cut down its carbon footprint, the UN set 2050 as the target year for countries to achieve net-zero carbon emissions. However, Singapore adopted a more ambitious model, where it has adopted programs to ensure schools achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2030. Other players of interest that are helping to cut down their carbon footprint include manufacturers and businesses.
Singapore insists that every person and party in Singapore, Asia, and across the globe has a role to play in addressing the threat of global warming. This means that even as schools work extra hard to lower emissions, teachers, students, and staff must also take personal initiatives to become more sustainable even away from their institutions.
Singapore Schools Efforts to Cut Down Carbon Footprint
Singapore has stood out in entire Asia as a global financial hub and is now taking the lead in sustainability matters. For schools, the Singapore administration has been using a number of programs and initiatives that help them to cut down carbon footprints and improve ESG rating. Here are some of the initiatives that you should know about.
- Piloting sustainability-related features in schools: The Ministry of Education in Singapore appreciates that schools can only produce significant results if they have good sustainability initiatives. Therefore, it is helping them to adopt projects such as reducing waste generation and harnessing solar energy.
- Sustainability learning centres: For schools that are new to sustainability, the entire process can feel pretty challenging. To make it easy for them, the ministry of education has set up the New Science Centre for demonstration. Once a school has seen different activities, it can replicate or build on them to make its focus on reducing carbon footprint more effective.
- Extending learning about sustainability to all subjects: As we have demonstrated, global warming is affecting everybody. Therefore, the ministry of education is extending training on sustainability in schools to all subjects through the Eco-Stewardship Program.
Five More Things to Reduce the Average Carbon Footprint of Your School
For school management, the call by the Ministry of Education, the Singapore government, and the United Nations should trigger a series of actions to help pull down GHG emissions by a huge margin. So, what other initiatives can help to rapidly pull down the carbon footprint in a school? Here are some expert suggestions:
- Make Cutting Down Carbon Footprint a Major Agenda in School
Cutting down carbon footprint requires a clear plan. We must say that a major strategy is required to achieve the ambitious zero carbon emission by 2030. Therefore, you should make cutting down carbon footprint the first step in your efforts. This means a number of things:
- The efforts and initiatives of the school are selected carefully and targeting areas that deliver more impacts.
- Ample resources are allocated to help drive the initiatives and achieve the expected results.
- The right expertise is brought on board to ensure that results are achieved.
- ESG Sustainability Reporting
When it comes to matters of sustainability, we must say that failure to report them can result in poor or non-appreciation. Often, actions such as going paperless and turning computers off when not in use might look small, but it will be impossible to achieve net zero carbon emissions without them. Therefore, you need to ensure that every effort is reported so that stakeholders can appreciate it.
To report your efforts to cut down carbon footprint, make sure to start with the main objective. Then, draw a plan to achieve the objective and targeted results. For example, what efforts do you adopt to cut down your carbon footprint by, say, 50% or 90% within a specific period? To get more from your efforts, make cutting down carbon footprint part of your overall ESG sustainability efforts.
- Reward Innovation to Help Cut Down Carbon Footprint
Although the problem of global warming has been around for some time, addressing it is never easy. Most organisations are looking for new innovations and technologies that can make it possible to achieve preset targets easily. Therefore, your school should focus on rewarding innovations in areas of sustainability. To achieve more with sustainability efforts, this should not be limited to your school but extended to entire Singapore and across the globe.
- Consider supporting science-based initiatives to help reduce energy use.
- Work with research organisations for support in the development of products like emission scrubbers from exhausts.
- Work with green initiatives helping to restore forests and vegetation in Singapore and across the globe.
- Use CONTINEWM to Pull Down Energy Use in School
HVAC systems in schools account for the largest portion of the energy bills in most schools. This is caused by the fact that Singapore is pretty hot most of the year, and schools need to air condition classrooms and offices. This also means that schools are likely to have high utility costs. One way of cutting energy use is using CONTINEWM, one of the latest and most effective innovations.
This is a device designed to help reduce resistance to airflow through HVAC systems. The resistance is caused by positive electrostatic charges that are created by the moving parts. However, CONTINEWM addresses it by continuously producing negative charges. The effect is improving the efficiency of HVAC by a huge margin and can result in cutting down related energy use by up to 50%.
We must also say that CONTINEWM is pretty easy to install and maintain. You only need to fix it on the front part of the heat exchanger to enjoy all the associated benefits. Once installed correctly, it can also help to reduce bad odours.
- Partner with International Organizations
One thing you must appreciate is that cutting down carbon footprint is a journey. To make it successful, your school should not walk alone. Therefore, consider bringing on board partners who can help you with ideas, support, and appreciation to stay focused. International organisations, such as Climate Fresk, can help with improving the capacity and rating your school on sustainability matters. This will be an excellent way to make your school stand out in the country for its efforts to improve sustainability.
Climate Fresk progressively updates its sustainability information to factor in the best practices for all organisations that partner with it. So, they will not only help you with crucial information to cut down carbon footprint, but also improve sustainability in the entire school. Let an expert hold your hand for better results.
This post has demonstrated that although schools in Singapore have a high average carbon footprint, it is possible to cut it down using the initiatives we have highlighted. Particularly, you should employ the latest tech initiatives, such as CONTINEWM, to not only cut down your carbon footprint, but also reduce energy bills. Other efforts you should consider are using natural light, planting trees in school, and installing energy-efficient lighting fixtures.