Katoomba North Public School (KNPS) is the first school to join the Blue Mountains - Low Carbon Living program, committing to reducing its carbon footprint. Whilst constrains of the public school system make localised change challenging, the KNPS community are determined to make a change.  KNPS’s Principal, Cathy Clark, has embarked on a sustainability plan involving the whole school community. Encouraging environmental awareness, providing ongoing educational opportunities, and encouraging community contributions towards developing a wholehearted sustainable living mindset and practices, are key.

Recycling, composting, and reusable cutlery, crockery, mugs and glasses are part of the school’s daily schedule, services, and events including canteen, breakfast club, sporting and community events.  The school participates annually in Earth Hour and solar panels reduce energy costs. Students are discouraged from including packaged foods in their lunchboxes and encouraged to refill drink bottles.

For KNPS principal Cathy Clark “It would be fabulous if our school produced zero general waste and our waste management consisted of recycle bins in the classrooms and compost bins for food scraps”.

KNPS P&C supports these sustainability efforts, and has funded the KNPS Low Carbon Living Project membership, that includes an environmental audit of the school’s energy and water usage and waste to landfill quota.  Treasurer Sharon Peralta  explains, “sustainability is at the forefront of KNPS P&C decision-making when it comes to events and supporting the school”. Audit recommendations include water filters on all taps, recycled air conditioning and additional solar panels on available roof space.

KNPS currently spends $600/month on water, $400/month on gas heating and $1200/month on electricity (regardless of season). The LCL program encourages starting with small steps to lower carbon usage. Raising independent funds, sourcing local contractors and managing the maintenance of plumping and renewable energy installations without government support are some of the larger goals for KNPS & P&C .

Leura’s Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School is also taking full advantage of participating in the LCL-BM Program.

The LCL-BM audit has recommended power factor correction on kitchen refrigeration units and air-curtains, additional insulation to the boiler pipes, LED external spotlights and solar panel installation. BMIHMS Operations Manager Kimberley Ang says “all but the solar panel installation recommendation have already been noted as capital expenditure (CAPEX) by the operational team” and are currently being addressed.

On average, the BMIHMS uses 74.33Kw of energy and produces 64.79 T/Yr CO2 emissions with an estimated 278 guests on campus daily. Energy bills average between $13,000 per month in the winter and $10,000 in the summer, currently supplied by Integral Energy.

Recycling, composting, worm farming, micro-fibre cleaning and charity bins have already been established at the school. Other CAPEX projects include installing the latest power and water saving devices, carpets made from recycled fishing line in the dining areas and recycled bamboo floor boards in the foyer, dual flush toilets, sensor taps, visible bins on campus to increase public awareness, and investigating new sustainability technology.

Improving waste management systems, composting and reuse of organic waste are noted priories. BMIHSM promotes it’s efforts through it’s website and social media and receives positive support and feedback from both students and staff.