Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Sustainability "by the numbers"

ISKL's sustainability initiatives are many and varied and are often publicized as they involve the essence of our being: Our students. What is perhaps less publicized (though the data is available on the Sustainable ISKL website) is the environmental indicator data that we use to inform decisions going forward from a structural standpoint. The latest data, from last semester, reveals the following:

  • Through January 2015 we have used the 2,100,000 kWh of energy on our two campuses for this academic year. This is nearly identical to last year's energy use (59% of last year's total with 58% of the year metered).
  • December 2014 we have used 1.916,000 sheets of paper on our two campuses for this academic year (49% of last year with 50% of the year metered).
  • Through January 2015 we have used the 16,100 m3 of water on our two campuses for this academic year. For Ampang this includes a large increase (68% of last year's total with 50% of the year metered)

A quick check on the EPA carbon equivalencies calculator (here) will indicate that our school's energy use for this time period generates carbon emissions equivalent to 519 tons of landfill waste and would need 37,130 seedlings grown for 10 years to sequester the same amount of carbon. 

Those might seem like high numbers, but they are part of a downward trend . Since 2009, when our environmental indicators started being tracked (somewhat unofficially), our water and paper use have come down by close to 30%. Energy has been rather consistent but this too is viewed as a success given that our school population has increased markedly (along with programs) in that time and we have increased our reliance on and use of technology. 

But, as with any change, the easier adjustments have been made and we are coming to the proverbial plateau.  As the light at the end of our new campus tunnel starts to shine a bit brighter it is a good time to recognize the collective power of design, technology and human behavior and make the necessary adjustments for a more efficient future. 

What is perhaps more exciting is the involvement of our students in the analysis of data, future projections and the offering of a plethora of possibilities. Students. Data. Facilities. Community. Interacting for a future we all want.  

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