On-Site Magazine

CaGBC announces Greenest School in Canada winner

By CaGBC   

Construction Green Construction LEED CAGBC greenest school LEED school winner Winnipeg

Amber Trails Community School’s student-run organic vegetable farm.

Ottawa, ON – The Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) and the Canada Coalition for Green Schools announced today that Amber Trails Community School in Winnipeg, Manitoba, is the winner of the annual CaGBC Greenest School in Canada competition. Located in the heart of a new neighbourhood in North Winnipeg, Amber Trails is a 78,000 sq. ft., newly constructed building that acts not just as a school, but as an open and accessible hub within the community. The school received LEED Platinum certification in 2016, and won the CaGBC’s Excellence in Green Building for New Construction award in May 2017. 

The CaGBC Greenest School jury, comprised of green building industry experts from across the country, chose Amber Trails for both its excellent environmental curriculum and its dedication to maintaining a truly green building, including an ENERGY STAR score of 92 and overall energy savings of 68 per cent. They appreciated the school’s eco-positive vision that highlights community engagement, as well as the Outdoor Learning Environment, which integrates this space with the surrounding public trails and encourages teachers to take their instruction outside. Additionally, they like that the school has adopted a “balanced” school day which allows students more time to play outside.

As the 2017 Greenest School in Canada winner, Amber Trails will receive a $2,000 cash award to put toward a new or ongoing sustainability project.

“This award is such a tremendous honour and we’d like to thank the Canada Green Building Council for providing this wonderful opportunity,” says Shivram Raveendrabose, a teacher at Amber Trails. “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. Through our various green projects, students, staff members, and families of all backgrounds have made sustainable living an essential part of community life.” 


Among the many highlights of the Amber Trails Community School:

• A student-run organic vegetable farm was developed last summer, enabling students in the farming club to work together with a farm coordinator to cultivate a mixture of over 20 varieties of vegetables which are sold to staff and community members.

• The school is working on a timeline-based teaching guideline that connects the climatic seasons with the school’s vegetable farm, in order to support land-based education and promote a deeper sense of place, and an awareness of human impacts and how they acknowledge and connect with natural cycles.

• The project owner, Seven Oaks School Division and PSFB, made the decision to eliminate natural gas from the project to reduce GHG emissions and future mechanical maintenance costs. With a combination of geothermal heating and cooling, radiant floor heating, low-flow fixtures and other initiatives, the school achieved over 68 per cent energy savings and a lower carbon footprint.

• Each classroom has three large windows and a partially glazed wall separating the classroom from the hallway, allowing for fresh air, outdoor views and natural light to come into the classroom. They say this has many positive impacts on the mental and physical well-being of both students and teachers.

• Amber Trails has achieved over 50 per cent reduction in water use. The school division reported that 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 m3 per student, in comparison to 3.2m3 per student at a similar school.

“I would like to congratulate Amber Trails Community School and their dedicated staff and students on winning the 2017 Greenest School in Canada,” says Thomas Mueller, President and CEO of the CaGBC. “Amber Trails is an excellent example of a school that not only teaches students about sustainability and innovation, but that puts it into practice. 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 the our natural environment, while inspiring them to be next generation leaders.”

The runners up of the 2017 Greenest School in Canada competition were:

• Dewdney Elementary School in Dewdney, BC.

• Windermere Secondary School in Vancouver, BC.

For a closer look at the schools and their many initiatives including videos and photos, visit the CaGBC’s website here.

Launched in 2014, this the Greenest School in Canada competition seeks to showcase kindergarten to Grade 12 schools across the country that truly exemplify how sustainability can be woven into the infrastructure, culture and curriculum of a school. The competition is part of a series of initiatives from the CaGBC and the Canada Coalition for Green Schools. 



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