Schools set high ecological standards

Dr Margaret Lee and principal Peter Edwards inspect building progress at San Damiano College in Yarrabilba (The Catholic Leader)

Inspired by Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’ encyclical, Catholic schools in Brisbane are forging ahead with a sustainable futures project that aims to produce big energy savings. Source: The Catholic Leader.

“We’ve been able to respond to Pope Francis’ invitation to take swift and globalised action,” Brisbane Catholic Education’s Margaret Lee said.

A highly-regarded former principal of Brisbane’s San Sisto College, Dr Lee is now BCE’s senior education officer of future school planning, and deeply committed to the task of “ecological conversion” in schools through a project called Living Laudato Si’ – Energy Reduction and Management.

“The secular world uses the word sustainability, we tend to talk about ecological conversion, living in kinship with creation and being in sublime communion with creation,” she said.

“This project reflects our Catholic identity, it is about building a sustainable future and creating a culture of love for all of creation.”

In the past two years, BCE has completed energy audits at each of its 142 schools, including the collection of energy consumption data.

Dr Lee has made training available to all principals in the theology underpinning the project.

“With all the data collected, a team visited all the schools to discuss potential action that could be taken to increase efficiencies,” Dr Lee said.

“And at the forefront has been what students can learn from doing this.”

Expert advice is given on the best case-by-case combinations of solar and ground sourced heat exchange, assisted heating, cooling and ventilating, eco-power and water storage, LED-lighting, insulation and natural shade, and waste management.

For BCE’s newest school projects, planned to open in 2021, Dr Lee briefed architects to come up with building and environmental designs consistent with the desire to “live Laudato Si”.

“San Damiano College in Yarrabilba has many elements from which students can learn about integral ecology,” she said.


Brisbane Catholic Education is setting high ecological standards with new schools set to open (By Mark Bowling, The Catholic Leader

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