Sustainability initiatives at JIS inspiring change

Jazi Zaini

Education for Sustainable Development Coordinator, Jerudong International School

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Jerudong International School (JIS) is a sustainable school that enables the students and staff to thrive by challenging themselves, respecting others and inspiring change.

In terms of the campus, the school spends a great deal of time reviewing facilities and making them fit for purpose and developing resources to cater for an ever changing world.  A main focus over the last few years has been working with the school’s Eco teams to make the campus more sustainable. A number of development projects have been designed and executed with sustainability in mind.  The school is now more mindful of the tropical environment and orientate buildings to maximise the sun or, to minimise the sun’s impact of heating/cooling. The tropics see a great deal of rain so the school has invested in, and continues to invest in large capacity rainwater harvesting systems to capture roof rainwater for use on the school site and support the school’s landscaping. The school has also developed many projects to cover open spaces which protect students from the sun and rain but also allow for a usable curriculum space that has no aircon.

A major investment for 2023 will be a large-scale solar PV project which will offset approximately 10% of the school’s power usage which is very large due to the size of the site. The school also considers carbon offsetting with flights overseas and works alongside the local ministries with tree planting initiatives on campus and across the country.

The main student sustainability initiative at JIS, which led to the Eco-School’s Green Flag Award and for the school to be shortlisted by the ISC Research for the Sustainability Award is the House Forest Level Award (HFLA). The HFLA is a student-led initiative which promotes a whole school approach to be more sustainable in daily school life. It also helps to clarify the 16 House Eco Reps roles and responsibilities as well as encourage collaboration among the 16 Houses rather than compete with each other.

The school is also fortunate to have a 10,000m2 project space located within the school campus which is called the Outdoor Discovery Center (ODC). The ODC was awarded the British International School Awards ‘Outstanding Strategic Initiative’ 2018 and International Energy Globe Awards 2021 for Brunei.

The school has a wide range of projects and activities linked to the ODC. This includes a project that counteracts increasing carbon emissions produced by international air travel and school buses through carbon offsetting, through reforestation efforts that ensure the protection of Brunei’s tropical forests, whilst replacing the invasive acacia tree species. This carbon offsetting project is a collaboration with other stakeholders such as Brunei’s Forestry Department who donated trees, the University of Brunei Darussalam and Wetlands International as well as Green Brunei. The school also joins Green Brunei for their reforestation projects and tree planting initiatives within the community. The ODC allows JIS students to discover and understand the importance of sustainable development via reforestation practices and to raise climate change awareness. Over the 6-year existence of JIS’ Outdoor Discovery Centre, it is estimated that in excess of 11,000kg of carbon dioxide has been absorbed and over 70 trees have been planted. More native plants will continue to be planted in the ODC by students during annual Peace Week Tree Planting initiatives where students plant and monitor their trees. In the ODC, students also produce their own compost made from plant cuttings around the school grounds. With the compost, the trees, herbs and vegetables are grown organically. One of the Houses also sells this compost for their Green Business initiative. Another House cares for three stingless bee hives. This project was started in 2019 as their Green Business initiative – the House sells the honey it harvests at school events.