The Zayed Sustainability Prize is the UAE’s pioneering global award in sustainability recognising the achievements of those who are driving impactful, innovative and inspiring sustainability solutions across five distinct categories: Health, Food, Energy, Water and Global High Schools.

A number of Australian and New Zealand schools have become Oceania finalists and winners in the Global High Schools category over recent years.

This is a case study of Tension Woods College in South Australia.

Tension Woods College, Australia

Zayed Future Energy Prize Finalist 2018

Tenison Woods College is a co-educational Catholic school in Mount Gambier, South Australia that offers education to almost 1,500 pupils ranging from pre-school through to Year 12 (final year) students. A Zayed Future Energy Prize finalist in 2018, their proposed project aimed to maximize the learning outcomes for students from across the region, while significantly reducing the school’s power costs.

Their proposal was to develop a Centre for Innovation to serve as a hub for sustainable energy education both within the school and the wider community. The school also proposed a diverse range of clean energy projects, including a 40kW solar PV system, a 5kW wind turbine, a 5kW micro-hydro demonstration project, a 3kW Stirling engine and a pedal- powered generator, all connected to a 21kW battery bank.

South Australia has amongst the highest electricity prices in the world. The college consumes approximately 670,000kWh per year from the grid, costing between A$160,000 and A$180,000 annually. The project aimed to save around A$24,000 in avoided electricity costs.

While Tension Woods did not win the 2018 prize, the community support garnered for their schools’ finalist submission was so great that the momentum achieved through the process of applying for the prize has achieved extraordinary outcomes.

In the 12 months since the 2018 awards announcement Tenison Woods College have added a range of engaging and innovative curriculum offerings, including an Australian accredited ElectroTechnology class that sees students install solar PV on the College roofs. The College has also developed strong partnerships with renewable leaders including Vestas Wind and Tindo Solar, collaborating on projects within the community and developing pathways to industry. Tenison Woods College has also seen a strong sustainability focus in a recent masterplan proposal, incorporating energy efficiency, water capture and numerous green spaces. These, and the many other sustainability initiatives the College have in the pipeline, would not have been possible without the recognition as a finalist in the 2018 Zayed Sustainability Prize.

Learn more

Read more about the Zayed Sustainability Prize.