First carbon neutral public school for Canberra

Released 06/03/2019 - Joint media release

Canberra’s newest public school, the Margaret Hendry School, will be the first ACT public school to produce zero emissions in its operation.

The ACT Government’s dedication to carbon emission reduction through investment in renewable energy will see 100 per cent of the ACT’s electricity sourced from renewable electricity by 2020. The Margaret Hendry School will be the first ACT school that sources its energy requirements from electricity alone.

The inclusion of technologies that maximise the efficient use of electricity in addition to the use of onsite generation of renewable energy showcases how sustainable design principles can achieve cost and energy efficient schools to support the ACT’s target of zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2045.

The range of initiatives used to ensure the operation of Margaret Hendry School is carbon neutral, include:

  • 100kW solar panels to reduce demand on the electricity grid and school energy costs
  • automated LED lighting with integrated motion sensor control to save power
  • double glazing to reduce the need for heating and cooling
  • electric boosted solar hot water to provide low cost, zero emission hot water
  • external shading to keep learning environments naturally cooler
  • an air conditioning system which can transfer heat from one part of the building to another to improve energy efficiency
  • a cooling system that flushes cool night air into the school buildings during summer to reduce the need for cooling during the day.

Additional carbon emission reduction strategies are being rolled out in existing schools. These include roof-mounted solar panels in all public schools, LED lighting upgrades, insulation and glazing upgrades, sustainable transport options and involving students and teachers in sustainability programs.

Comments attributable to Minister for Education and Early Childhood Development, Yvette Berry:

“As parents and teachers know, children show great enthusiasm when it comes to sustainability and it is great to see this in action at Canberra’s newest public school.

“The Margaret Hendry School provides high quality and environmentally sustainable educational facilities and is an example of what all new schools can achieve.

“The ACT’s public education sector provides a great example of the pursuit of sustainable development in new and existing schools.

“These approaches explore the roles that technology, infrastructure and behaviour play in reducing carbon emissions.”

Comments attributable to Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability Shane Rattenbury:

“As a response to climate change, we’re aiming to make the ACT completely carbon neutral by 2045, and a critical part of this is transitioning away from fossil fuels.

“This means we need to stop using natural gas, and instead use electricity from renewable sources. Margret Hendry School shows that buildings that use only electricity are perfectly feasible - as well as comfortable and economical - even in large and complex environments such as a school.

“Replacing natural gas with electrification makes sense in the ACT as we will have 100% renewable electricity by 2020. Margret Hendry School is an example of the type of public facility we will see much more of in Canberra.”

- Statement ends -

Section: Yvette Berry, MLA | Shane Rattenbury, MLA | Media Releases

Media Contacts

Name Phone Mobile Email

Minister Berry - Megan Cursley

(02) 6207 1653

0435 960 505

Minister Rattenbury - Lisa Wills

(02) 6205 3897

0481 035 764

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