9 Sep 2016

School saves thousands of dollars by going sustainable

From Jesse Mulligan, 1–4pm, 1:25 pm on 9 September 2016
Students from Trident High School testing their photo voltaic water heating systems

Students from Trident High Schoo testing their photo voltaic water heating systems Photo: technology.tki.org.nz/

A high school in Whakatane is getting closer to being water self-sufficient, and is slashing its power bill.

Trident High School has won a 30,000 litre rain water tank, worth several thousand dollars, as part of the 'Water 4 Schools' programme.

The tank will supply enough water for one of its kitchens and could also be vital in a disaster.

Metal Technology teacher Dave Dobbin and his students are behind this intiative. 

To win the tank the school had make a convincing business case for how they would use it.

The tank will harvest rainwater from the school auditorium and then a solar pump will filter the water to remove particulate and put it through UV sterilisation.

The clean water then goes back into the water supply for the auditorium which will the school hopes can serve as a functioning emergency evacuation centre.

One student is making it his project as part of his technology course and getting NCEA credits too.

Dave says students have been involved in other environmental projects, including one that has dramatically reduced on-site electricity consumption and bills.

And they were big bills - $120,000 a year for power.

“We set up a five year goal of reducing electricity use by 40 percent and we are 7 percent away from that.

That equates to $36,000 a year, he says  

“We’re just on this massive long path, and we’re exceeding our targets so far in terms of conservation.”