WINNIPEG - The Amber Trails Community School in Winnipeg has earned the title of the Greenest School in Canada.
The annual award is given out by the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC). In addition to the award, the school will also receive $2,000 to fund a new or ongoing sustainability project.
The school is a 78,000-square-foot, newly constructed building that acts as an open and accessible hub within the community, states a release. The school was awarded LEED Platinum certification in 2016 and won the CaGBC's Excellence in Green Building for New Construction award in May.
According to the CaGBC, Amber Trails was chosen for its environmental curriculum and for its dedication to maintaining a truly green building, including an ENERGY STAR score of 92 and overall energy savings of 68 per cent.
The jury also appreciated the school's eco-positive vision that highlights community engagement as well as the Outdoor Learning Environment, which integrates the space with the surrounding public trails and encourages teaching outdoors.
The council added the jury appreciated that the school has adopted a balanced school day allowing students more time to play outside.
"These funds will significantly help our school's ongoing commitments to sustainability and green innovation. We would like to recognize how this achievement was made possible through the dedication of our entire community," said Shivram Raveendrabose, a teacher at Amber Trails, in a statement.
"Through our various green projects, students, staff members and families of all backgrounds have made sustainable living an essential part of community life."
The school uses no natural gas and instead combines geothermal heating and cooling, radiant floor heating, low-flow fixtures and other initiatives to achieve over 68 per cent energy savings and a lower carbon footprint.
Amber Trails has also managed to achieve an over 50 per cent reduction in water use. The school division reported they are saving approximately $7,224 per year on water and it was found that the average water consumption for Amber Trails is 1.21 cubic metres per student, in comparison to 3.2 cubic metres per student at a similar school.
"Amber Trails is an excellent example of a school that not only teaches students about sustainability and innovation, but puts it into practice," said Thomas Mueller, president and CEO of the CaGBC.
"By weaving sustainability into the culture and curriculum of their LEED Platinum certified school, Amber Trails is teaching its students the most important lessons about our natural environment, while inspiring them to be next generation leaders."
The runners up for the 2017 Greenest School in Canada competition were Dewdney Elementary School in Dewdney, B.C. and Windermere Secondary School in Vancouver, B.C.