Sustainability stars for the 2015 - 2017

The Sustainable Schools Awards Ceremony was conducted on 7th of May 2017, to honor and award the best actions by schools participating in this initiative for the 2015-17 academic sessions. We are happy to announce our winners and we hope you find their stories inspirational.

Lead School Category – Government Schools

First Place: Al Talee’a School, Abu Dhabi

The school has won several awards in previous years for Best School for Community Awareness in 2009, Best School for Effective Environmental Teacher in 2010, Best School for Environmental Auditing in 2011, Best School for Field Trips in 2012 and Best Sustainable School in 2013, as well as second place for Best Lead School in 2015. It has adopted four schools; Al Foa, Murijib, Salama bint Butti and Al Awael Kindergarten. Despite the difficulties faced by the school last year, it continued to invest in its efforts to gain further experience and continually enhance its performance for all its school sustainable initiatives. The number of students participating increased from 56 to 70 and the teachers increased from 9 to 11. Some of the school’s significant outcomes include the development of a plan to reduce the ecological footprint and the improvement of the adopted schools performance throughout the year. The school has set a great example in knowledge transfer, as well as training and qualifying students to take environmental responsibility.

Second Place: Al Khatim School, Al Ain

The school leads three other schools, which are Um Al Arab, Rooh Al Etihad and Al Ikhlas School. Al Khatim School made great contributions towards: air, water, waste and energy components, as wells as establishing their own Eco-Club, training 69 teachers, raising awareness amongst the students and adding environmental field trips to the school curriculum. It has also set an improvement plan for the school and exchanged experiences with its adopted schools and maintain a high level of performance. Despite it being a new school, it has managed to earn a spot in the ‘Lead School’ category and has exceeded all expectations for its performance. The school introduced its organic farming project with its adopted schools and its various environmental trips.

As part of its future plan the school aims to use solar panels to reduce electricity consumption and raise more awareness on water and energy consumption in the school.

Third Place: Qatr Al Nada School, Al Dhafra

Since the inception of the Sustainable Schools Initiative (SSI) in 2009, Qatr Al Nada School has been part of the initiative. It has won many awards over the years including Best Sustainable School in 2013, Best School for Community Awareness in 2014 and third place for Best Lead School in 2015, as well as second place for Best Lead School in 2016. It has adopted six schools including United School, Khanoor, Baya, Bay’at Al Rdwan, Al Khamael and Bid Al Mutawa School. Qatr Al Nada guided its adopted schools and trained them on how to conduct a green audit with all its components, how to select and form an internal and external project and how to create an Eco-Club. The school has made some significant contributions throughout the past year towards reducing its ecological footprint for instance by increasing its shared transportation to 9.5%, reducing its CO2 emissions by 19% and increasing its green area by 56%.

Lead School Category – Private Schools

Second Place: Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Bangladish Islamia Private School, Abu Dhabi

Leading two other schools, it has made great contributions to the air, water, waste, land and energy components, as well as establishing its own Eco-Club, training teachers and adding environmental trips to its curriculum. Around 130 members of staff, teachers and students walk to school, and 722 travel by shared transport. The school’s Eco-Club has suggested changing the air conditioners with new ones and does maintenance every month in an effort to reduce its carbon emissions. In terms of its efforts to conserve water, the school has exceeded expectations due to its efficient methods and use of recycled water. The school has more than 25 plant species and does not use pesticides nor artificial fertilizers. It has also installed solar panels which has dramatically decreased the consumption of electricity with a saving of 117,555 Mega joules in 2016.

Third Place: Islamia English School, Al Ain and Abu Dhabi Indian School, Abu Dhabi

Paving the way for its environmental footprint it leads three other schools: Applied Technology High School, The New Filipino School and Rawafed School. The schools have lead the way in reducing their water consumption, reduced their bottle water consumption by 18%, shared school transport of 67% and does not use any artificial fertilizers or pesticides.

All of these schools have been trained in various workshops using various concepts which combined with three different subjects for all grades, as well as 300 students joining in the schools environmental trips. The schools where in constant contact via emails, phone calls and meetings, following up with recommendations to further enhance the environmental performance.

Best Green Audit Category – Government Schools

First Place: Al Samha School, Abu Dhabi

A total of 70 pupils from the school participated in the Environmental audit, the audit was broken down into six different subjects of the curriculum. In terms of water consumption, it was reduced by 15%.

The school truly embodied the spirit of teamwork which pave the way to it winning the award. Another significant contribution was its ability to further increase its shared transport from 70% to 83% by targeting teachers to also participate.

Despite the challenges faced in recycling water, the proportion of bottled water was reduced from 105 bottles to 47 bottles per day, gray water was around (29.5) liters per day being invested in increasing sustainable green areas such as non-banned pesticides, organic fertilizers and local plants. Water saving devices have also been introduced into the houses.

Finally the school’s monthly recycling food waste program has transformed 814 kg into organic fertilizer, as well as 180 kg of paper and 386 kg of plastic.

Second Place: Al Montaha School, Abu Dhabi

Al Montaha has been the lead school since 2009-2010 and has been awarded for the Best Community Outreach category in 2013 and 2015.

The number of students that participated in the five categories of the project reached 279 participants, pushing forward the school continued to apply for the award and was nominated this year. [Read on]

Through their green audit, the school managed to achieve many tangible outcomes which included reducing bottled water from 232 to 180 bottles per day, this was a great achievement. Additionally it further reduced from the previous year its energy consumption from 31.7 to 12.24 mega joules per day an amazing saving. The audit enabled three subjects (chemistry, physics & geology) to be integrated into curriculum.

In terms of recycling waste, the school take responsibility for this and does not send it out for recycling, using all remaining water in bottles for irrigation, as well as plans to treat all gray and white water produced.

Additional sustainable changes have been made by relying heavily on the shared transport program, as well as an average of 500 kilowatts of electricity being saved per day by relying on solar energy and setting all air conditioners at 25 degrees.

Best Green Audit Category – Private Schools

First Place: The Philippine Global School, Abu Dhabi

Having taken second place last year, the school this year won the award. The school’s green area didn’t exceed 10% last year and through creative and innovative ideas they managed to increase this by 75% with solid teamwork it was able to increase its green areas significantly by using sustainable methods. Using its winnings for second place last year the school utilized them to afford the necessary upgrades to increase and sustain the green area footprint. The project known as ‘biodome’ and powered by solar panel energy uses a minimal of water. The dome is able to maintain suitable temperatures for the growth of plants through the use of solar fans that release hot air and provide a cool climate that suits the growth of plants.

The dome is a unique educational site to learn about sustainable agriculture, sustainable energy and the generation of non-polluting energy, a concept that can be linked to the issue of climate change and the reduction of carbon emissions. Through this project, students are also taught how to reduce water consumption and recycling. The dome has contributed to the increase of biodiversity in the school and the school’s green area has reached 30% in total space.

Some of the school’s contributions towards the environment include 1,057 students using shared transportation, reduction of energy consumption by 53% and the reduction of its monthly waste generation from 800 kg to 400 kg. Future plans include: installation of an aquaponics system, motion and thermal sensors as well as additional solar panels for the biodome.

Second Place: Al Bateen Scientific Private School, Abu Dhabi

The school achieved remarkable results towards the environment by 80% of the school using shared transport, increasing its green areas to 37% and recycling their waste monthly. Participating in the Sustainable Schools Initiative with other leading schools in waste management program. As part of the schools many future plans it will introduce renewable energy to the school.

Best Community Outreach Category - Government Schools

First Place: Al Montaha School, Abu Dhabi

The school implemented two remarkable projects, one internal and another external reaching out to the community. The internal project was “Say No to Chemical Detergents”. This school has shifted from the use of chemical detergents to effective natural cleaners and linked the environment to health and safety best practices. The school cleaners also became aware of the topic and were trained how to use environmentally friendly detergents.

The external project targeted residents in the area of Mussafah East 12 to raise awareness about techniques that contribute to reducing the use of water in homes. The school carefully analyzed the situation on water consumption and parents were offered displacement bags to be placed under the toilets that help save 6 litres of water on every flush. It is a plastic bag tightly sealed with water and placed in old packing boxes with a capacity exceeding 12 litres with each use.

Around 30 families took part in this project and as part of its future plan, it aims to target all residents of Mussafah area, which will contribute to saving 598,349 gallons per day. Due to the enormous success of this project, its story was covered by the local media.

Second Place: Um Al Arab School, Abu Dhabi

The school won the best project idea last year (2016), which was the Sustainable House Project. The school received the support of many companies in the implementation of its projects, including Masdar, Centre of Waste Management and Environment Friends Society. [Read on]

One of its future projects is the organic garden project, the idea is to spread environmental awareness in the community on the importance of organic products, due to their effects in reducing pollution, and the reuse of water and organic fertilizers.

In addition to Al Barza Scientific project, which aims to create an environmentally sustainable corner, with all is contents made of recycled materials. Furthermore, a Smart Irrigation Project, through supplying and managing the solar irrigation system.

Third Place: Al Huiteen School, Al Dhafra

The school implemented the Aquaponics project, which combines the farming of fish and plants, with the presence of pumps within the cycle.

It developed this project by connecting a solar-powered insect trap. This project has many benefits which include providing water for agriculture and recycling it within a cycle, providing high quality animal protein, producing plants and vegetables and providing organic fertilizers and animal feeds with a high source of protein. Around 60 students and 35 teachers took part in this project and some parents participated too. As a result of this project, there are currently over 1,500 fish present.

Best Community Outreach Category - Private Schools

First Place: Bright Riders School, Abu Dhabi

The school managed its Eco-Club in a very creative way, with its main project focusing on E-Waste and how to reduce it. It collected an impressive 368 Kgs of E-Waste that was sent to a company to properly dispose of it. The school has created many flash mobs and puppet shows addressing environmental issues and additional it has always engaged its stakeholders on all its activities, it use of digital media has been very impressive, the school even has its own radio station.

In terms of community outreach, the school has created paper bags from newspapers and distributed them among the community.

Second Place: International Community School, Abu Dhabi

The school reduced its water consumption from 46-19 Litres per capita, per day over a two year period.

An Eco-Waste recycling competition sponsored by the Centre of Waste Management and the school’s food waste has been reduced to a remarkable point. It has a future project to expand the school’s green area by increasing the amount of native plants.

Third Place: Al Ekhlass Private School, Abu Dhabi

Around 40 participants are in the school’s Eco-Club. The school has several internal projects as well as an external project.

Internal Project:

  • My Organic Garden, which is an agricultural project aimed at increasing the school’s green areas. Another project is on sorting household and school waste and recycling it. The idea of this project is to encourage parents to responsibly sort their household waste.
  • External Project:

  • The external project is Organic Fertilizer, its focus on dealing with the remaining food and transforming it to organic fertilizer and spreading local awareness among individuals on how to prepare manure.
  • Best Environmental Educational Category – Government Schools

    First Place: Al Refa School, Al Ain

    The school has constantly organized workshops, covering multiple concepts such as recycling, biodiversity, waste management and water conservation. A number of 21 teachers were assigned in four workshops organized by EAD, and online training courses. However, the number of educators that the training was shared with is 60 in total and the workshops were combined with classes from all grades beginning with KG till 12th Grade. These workshops were shared with 15 educators and eight schools.

    Compared to last year (2016), the school found that the workshops in general rose in the number of participants, number of teachers that combined sustainability along with curriculum, number of external courses and awareness workshops. Moreover, these events were certified with pictures, training schedules internally and externally, as well as planners and schedules of the lessons that were combined with curriculum.

    Second Place: Al Resala School, Al Ain

    Two workshops were held with three educators which were organized by EAD. The training was shared with 30 other teachers as well as being part of the school’s curriculum of additional subjects for a variety of grades between KG to 11th grade.

    The school also organized 12 field trips for some 200 students. The trips took place at Mohammed bin Rashid Center for Governmental Innovation, Sheikh Zayed Desert Learning Center and Al Faqa Park which held environmental computations. Many additional school activities were held and performed by the students in different environmental related fields. All for the workshops and field trips held were certified with photos, schedules and planners.

    Best Environmental Educational Category – Private Schools

    First Place: Mayoor School, Abu Dhabi

    The school showed improvement in managing air, water, land, energy and waste in comprehension over the years. The school has an Eco-Club that discusses environmental challenges. Teachers and other staff members are always involved in the community, and all of the events are certified and recorded.

    The trainer program is what Mayoor School has shown extraordinary efforts in as they organized five workshops attended by five teachers. Also, there was an online course that was attended by a couple of trainers and the training was connected with some subjects in the curriculum. The workshops were shared with 75 teachers and were certified with photos and reports. The school also involved the students in field trips to several places which are: Al Wathba Wetland Reserve in Abu Dhabi and the Falcon Hospital in Sweihan.

    Best Outdoor Education Category – Government Schools

    First Place: Rooh Al Etihad, Abu Dhabi

    The school received considerable support from Al Khatim School. The school’s plan was to achieve 25% of environmental trips, however it managed to reach 29%.

    Some of the school’s environmental trips were:

  • Al Khatim Park: ‘The Forum of Sustainability’, the purpose of this trip was to revive the National Environment Day. The trip was linked to subjects such as science and music. The target group was primary and kindergarten students.
  • Al Wathba Park: The aim of this trip was to introduce the students to different species of animals and plants in the area. The trip was linked to some of the students’ subjects including science and social sciences. The target group was primary school students.
  • The school has been able to spread environmental awareness significantly, through the practical application of educational curricula in-line with the strategies of up-to-date educational best practices. In addition, the school was able to increase the percentage of awareness trips in Al Falah area through the environmental club team and increase the number of trips that serve the curriculum and the Sustainable Schools Initiative (SSI).

    Best Outdoor Education Category – Private Schools

    First Place: Abu Dhabi Indian School, Branch 1

    A total of 10 environmental trips were organized, with 2,121 Students attending these trips which covered a variety of environmental challenges targeting different age groups, including:

  • The school garden: Students from grade 1 to 7
  • Al Wathba Park: GIS training for grades 7 and 8
  • Al Wathba Wetland Reserve: Students of grade 8, where they explored the rich biodiversity of the area
  • Emirates Hydroponics Farm: Students of grade 9
  • The field trips were organized by the teachers and were linked to topics covered in the curriculum. Additionally, the school campus itself has been used for exploring and experimenting.

    Second Place: Al Manhal International Private School, Abu Dhabi

    The percentage of environmental trips which were conducted was 44%, with 1,482 students participating in these trips.

    The trips supported many environmental challenges including: water, biodiversity, technological development, in the fields of environment conservation of the sustainable agricultural environment, waste and recycling and the risk of overfishing.

    Some of the schools trips which took place were:

  • Abu Dhabi International Hunting & Equestrian Exhibition 2016: The purpose of this trip was to introduce the students to the importance of animals and the dangers of hunting. A total of 278 students participated in this trip.
  • Emirates Astronomy Association: 75 students participated in this trip to learn about modern technologies in environmental sciences.