Whitehorse City Council

Sustainable Schools

ResourceSmart Australian Sustainable Schools Initiative Victoria (AuSSI Vic)

Whitehorse City Council is supporting a number of local schools to participate in the ResourceSmart AuSSI Vic Framework.   

AuSSI Vic is a sustainability education framework for primary and secondary schools in Victoria. It provides a holistic approach to sustainability through learning modules that embed sustainability throughout school operations, curriculum and whole school engagement. AuSSI Vic goes beyond mere awareness raising, to strategy planning, and on to action and environmental leadership.  

The program consists of a core module – Schools Becoming Sustainable – and four resource modules (waste, energy, biodiversity and water) that schools can complete over time in whichever sequence suits them. A mentor from CERES (Centre for Education and Research in Environmental Strategies) is assigned to the school for the duration of the school year to assist the school to undertake the program and give tailored advice and assistance.  

The AuSSI Vic program is partially funded by Sustainability Victoria, with Council providing funds for the balance of the cost so local schools can participate without further expense.  

The nine schools participating in the program this year are: Burwood Heights Primary School, Nunawading Christian College Primary School, St Luke the Evangelist School, St Francis Xavier Primary School, Wattle Park Primary School, Blackburn Lake Primary School, Orchard Grove Primary School, Box Hill North Primary School and Vermont South Special School.

Many of the 10 Whitehorse schools that took part last year will now move to another module in 2011 to learn more about energy, water, waste or biodiversity.  

Schools that reach 5-star certification in the program have demonstrated continuous improvement in 'Awakening', 'Discovering', 'Transforming', 'Sustaining' and 'Leadership'.  

Schools aim to achieve targets and benchmarks such as:

  • Reducing waste to landfill by 70 per cent
  • Reducing water use by 40 per cent
  • Reducing energy use by 25 per cent
  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent
  • Increasing biodiversity (habitat quality) by 50 per cent and reducing environmental weeds by 60 per cent. 

For more information on the program, visit www.resourcesmart.vic.gov.au/for_educators_2439.html  

Teacher Environment Network (TEN)

The Teacher Environment Network provides an opportunity for teachers to come together to discuss issues around environmental education and implementing sustainability initiatives within the school. It also provides professional development opportunities through guest speakers, workshops and school tours.  

Facilitated by the Whitehorse City Council's Education Program Officer and Sustainability Officer, the Network meets regularly to stay in touch with council initiatives and environmental events within the municipality and in the wider community. 

Teachers, integration aides, support staff and principals are welcome to join the network. All education providers in Whitehorse, including those from Catholic, independent, special, state and pre-schools are invited to attend.  

The network provides a forum for local teachers to share project ideas, project successes and challenges, network with and meet like-minded local teachers, learn what environmental programs are available to schools and have on-going peer support. 

Typically, network members take turns to host the meetings. This is a valuable opportunity to 'show and tell' what is happening around schools in Whitehorse. 

Regular email updates provide members with information about professional development opportunities, grant programs and other information.  

For more information or to be added to our mailing list, please contact the Sustainability team on 9262 6433.

Schools Water Efficiency Program (SWEP)

Council encourages local schools to become more sustainable and to participate in programs that will help them to save water and reduce their water and energy consumption.

The Schools Water Efficiency Program (SWEP) is a Victorian Government initiative that has already identified and saved participating Victorian schools more than 2 billion litres of water that would have cost more than $5.7m since 2012 through the early identification of leaks, faulty appliances and inefficient practices.

Using data loggers to monitor daily school water use in 15-minute intervals, every participating schools has been able to better understand their water use as well as identify faults or leaks that may not have been recognised as quickly, or at all, without SWEP intervention.

A world class initiative SWEP is available to every Victorian school and provides access to subsidised data loggers, a dedicated website, specialist advice and curriculum materials for monitoring and managing water consumption and continuing the water efficiency education of Victorian school children.

SWEP is a voluntary program open to every Victorian school. The program requires a three-year commitment by schools and there are no upfront costs. The total program costs for participating is $300 (ex GST) over the three years, payable by instalments of $150 (ex GST) in each of the second and third years.

By signing up for SWEP, your school will receive:

  • Up to two data loggers fitted for free, additional loggers are at cost. There is no disruption to water use at any time
  • Access to a dedicated website for monitoring and managing water consumption data
  • Unlimited staff, student and administrative access
  • Teacher assistance and training can be provided where necessary
  • Email alerts and advice regarding leaks and causes of leaks 
  • Access to specially designed primary and secondary curriculum resources. These resources address English, Math, Science and Sustainability issues
  • For some schools one of the data loggers can be connected to a rainwater tank(s). The plumbing costs for metering the rainwater tank(s) will also be met by SWEP. (conditions apply.)

Schools can register for SWEP online at the SWEP website.

Throughout 2016 SWEP will be expanding its service to include monitoring electricity use and solar panels at participating school.  Visit www.myswep.com.au to learn more about the program, read case studies and see how the SWEP can benefit your school.