I recently attended a health and safety demonstration about new cleaning protocols that are further enhancing our green approach to having healthy surroundings in our schools. The program, successfully implemented at Salt Spring Island Middle School last November, will be expanded district-wide this fall. Building Service Workers will play an important role in this project.

The new protocols use mineral salts, tap water and electrolysis. This reduces the surface tension of water and gives the sensation of “making water wetter.” The cleaning process is a simple application of this solution to a surface. A hospital-grade fogger will also be used when necessary.

The technology promotes healthy bacteria in the environment and reduces those bacteria identified as harmful. The Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) rates the toxicity of the product as having zero physical hazard, zero health hazard, and zero environmental hazard. This approach is based on a new understanding of bacteria and “quorum sensing” communication. To learn more about the science behind the new protocols, view a TED Talk here.

The demonstration made me think about the many ways that we practice being green in Gulf Island schools. In partnership with communities, solar panels are installed on schools on Pender and Salt Spring Islands. The solar installation at Gulf Islands Secondary, the largest school-based installation in BC, supports an annual scholarship for students pursuing studies related to sustainable technologies. The district has recently expanded it’s commitment to place and nature-based learning for all students where literacy and other skills are developed through experiences in nature. The Carbon Neutral Action Report addresses carbon emissions by improving mechanical and heating efficiencies, and reducing energy use. The district also supports recycling of paper and cardboard at each of our sites.

Being green is an important goal reflected in the strategic plan of the district. These sustainable practices exercise responsibility towards the natural environment, promote employee wellness, and reflect a good sense of economy.

Doug Livingston
Director of Instruction – Learning Services