Mercy College is committed to helping the environment and working towards a sustainable future. We have implemented several environmentally friendly systems which are targeted at reducing our energy consumption, water usage and contribution to landfill. Our proactive approach to 'going green' means we are constantly looking for improvements and planning changes as we head into the future.
In 2008 Mercy College received its first installation of solar panels. Installed were 36 panels capable of generating up to 5.8 kilowatts of power. The power generated is consumed by the school, reducing the amount of coal-fired power used as well as our power bill. The amount of energy produced, dollars saved and reduction in carbon dioxide, can be viewed on the Solar Panels page.
In August 2009 another 28 panels were installed capable of producing 5 kilowatts of power and in 2010 we added 37 more. This brought the total number of panels to 101. The total power capable of being produced is 17.697 kilowatts, further reducing our consumption of the earth's finite coal supply.
Computers consume a significant amount of power. Mercy College has looked to reduce the amount of power used by our PC's with a couple of initiatives. Firstly, our student PC's are automated to shut down at a certain time in the afternoon. This way we are not reliant on staff or students to shut down the PC's at the end of each day. Secondly, Mercy College has moved to replace its power hungry PC's with thin clients which use up to 80% less power.
2008 saw the introduction of the bottle recycling program at Mercy College. To encourage students to recycle their empty drink bottles, all bottles sold from the tuckshop come with a 50¢ premium. Students have their 50¢ refunded when they return their rinsed-out bottle to members of the Environmental Committee in the tuckshop.
If a student doesn't return their bottle, the 50¢ from that bottle goes to the Environmental Committee to help with their work in making Mercy College a more environmentally friendly school.
Available to all staff are several yellow recycling bins which are used to discard non-sensitive material. We also have an industrial recycling bin to discard larger paper-based items such as cardboard boxes.
Whilst recycling is a priority for Mercy College, we are also working hard on reducing the amount of paper used within the school. The school newsletter is now only available to parents via the Mercy College website. Parents receive an email each week notifying them of the new newsletter with a link to the newsletter page. Parents can view, download or print the newsletter.
The amount of printing done by students is a challenge for any school. To reduce the amount of ink and paper students use, Mercy College implemented a software based system that encourages students to be more responsible and thoughtful about what they print. Students are allowed a set number of pages to print free each month, after which, they must pay for what they use. The system also informs the student of the environmental impact of their printing in terms of trees used, carbon created and energy consumed.
Mercy College participates in a printer cartridge recycling program run by the local Cartridge World store. The school stores its used inkjet and laser printer cartridges, which are collected periodically by Cartridge World to be re-used. The school receives a small payment from Cartridge World for each cartridge collected. Students are encouraged to bring their used cartridges to school to contribute to the recycling effort.
In 2010 all toilet facilities at Mercy College were upgraded to use water efficient taps and toilets. We also installed a rain water tank which helps water the gardens.