Canadian International School of Hong Kong (CDNIS) has been recognised as one of the most innovative schools in Asia since its foundation 28 years ago. “We have always aligned ourselves with innovative institutions and organisations around the world, which has allowed us to stay at the cutting edge of pedagogy,” says Head of School Dr Jane Camblin. “We were one of the first Apple Distinguished Schools in Asia and one of the first schools in Hong Kong to roll out a one-to-one laptop programme. When the school was established in 1991, founding members were committed to offering a future-ready education for all students. It has helped the school shape its students into global citizens who are eager to make a difference in the world.”


environmental sustainability

The school is also known as an environmental leader and takes its role of preparing the next generation of environmental leaders very seriously. Over the last decade CDNIS has been recognised by Hong Kong’s Environmental Campaign Committee as one of the greenest schools in Hong Kong. In the summer of 2019, the school improved its sustainability pledge further with the installation of a photovoltaic farm.

“This photovoltaic farm consists of 349 solar panels and is now the largest solar installation of any school on Hong Kong Island,” says Dr Camblin. “It plays a key role in our continued efforts to reduce the school’s carbon footprint and in educating students about how solar energy and
other renewable energy sources are sustainable, long-term alternatives.”

From the start, CDNIS has focused on advancing environmental sustainability through countless initiatives, many of them student driven. These include Lights Out Friday; No Cup, No Coffee; the creation of a 500 square metre Green Roof where more than a dozen fruits and vegetables are grown; and a composting programme. “In the last six years alone, these sustainability initiatives have helped cut our carbon footprint and energy use by over 15 per cent, for a yearly savings of nearly US$100,000,” says Peter Wong, the school’s Director of Business Administration. Solar panels are projected to cut the school’s annual energy use by over 133,000 kilowatt hours and reduce the school’s carbon footprint by 85 tons a year – the equivalent of one person flying round-trip between Hong Kong and New Zealand, 32 times.


future-ready learning

The photovoltaic farm will pay for itself in just over six years and, based on the Hong Kong government’s Feed-in Tariff scheme, the farm will help reduce the school’s annual energy costs by up to 13 per cent, equivalent to an annual rebate of US$65,000. But this is just the beginning, as the school is investigating additional opportunities for solar and other renewable energy sources to be installed in the future.

Students can view the installation from the 13th and 14th floors of the Lower School Tower, and can also engage with the energy production data through the interactive digital display in the school’s main entrance. “The positive environmental and economic impacts of this installation are obvious, though the true driving force behind this investment was the new and experiential learning opportunities for our students and the wider community,” says Dr Camblin. “Teachers are able to use our solar panels to enrich the curriculum with this real-world example of sustainable development.”