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Exposing students to clean energy technologies and practices

BUKIT View Secondary School has received a commendation for best energy-efficiency practices in the public sector in this year's EENP awards. This award recognises outstanding public-sector agencies that have shown exemplary commitment in adopting good energy-efficiency practices and have been proactive in implementing energy efficiency improvement measures.

It was noted that the school had developed a comprehensive learning and outreach programme that exposes students to clean energy technologies and practices for sustainable development such as Applied Learning Programme in Clean Energy and Environmental Technology and the JOULES (Junior Outstanding Leaders in Energy for Sustainability) programme.

Shirley Lee, vice-principal, Bukit View Secondary School, says: "The school's signature JOULES programme develops students in the area of environmental leadership. These student leaders are trained to conduct ecotrails for primary school students and visitors, in particular to showcase how our school is energy efficient. For instance, how our rooftop solar panels generates energy for the school and the use of alternative energies."

The school hosts the Student Environmental Leadership Conference annually. The conference focuses on student leadership in the environment and has attracted over 2,000 primary school students over the past eight years.

"We have also been invited to share our good practices at various platforms including the President's Award for the Environment (PAE) networking sessions as well as Partners for the Environment Conference organised by the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources.

"We aim to reduce energy consumption by 3 per cent from the 2014 figures. We have weaved in energy saving messages into the Sec 1 value in action programme. They will design posters to put up around the school to remind everyone to save electricity. This has resulted in a reduction of our utilities bills," says Mrs Lee.

The school is also building a learning space like a classroom called the STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) centre to showcase and educate others on the technologies available to be energy efficient, environmentally friendly and sustainable.

"We will put in the STEM Centre as one of the itineraries when visitors come for learning and when primary schools come for ecotrails. We will also work with Bukit Batok CC to open up the STEM centre to public so that more people can learn about energy efficiency and environmental technologies," says Mrs Lee.

Asked for comments on being one of the winners in the public sector category this year, she says: "It is an honour to receive this award. It is a recognition of our energy-saving efforts. It will spur us to build on and continue the good efforts."

Bukit View Secondary School has a long history of environmental education. "One question we ask ourselves is: If we know this is what our children will need tomorrow, how differently must we teach them today?" says Mrs Lee.

The school's environmental efforts started in 2000 with efforts to raise awareness of 3Rs - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. In 2008, the school set up various authentic learning spaces including its first solar panel which powered the water sprinkler in the mini science garden, the ecogarden which has a rain garden, rainwater collection system, natural water filtration (biostream) system, a water wheel to demonstrate the generation of hydroelectric energy and solar panel with a tracking panel and the environment gallery was designed and built to support the ecotrails.

In 2012, the Ministry of Education officially conferred the Bukit View Secondary School with the Niche Status in Environmental Science, and in the following year, the Applied Learning Programme (ALP) in Clean Energy and Environmental Technology.