TP students help schools achieve sustainability goals

Despite the rejections they received, these four Temasek Poly students helped four schools achieve green goals during internship
Isabelle Liew The New Paper 29 Dec 16;

Their passion for environment sustainability started at the integrated facility management (IFM) course in Temasek Polytechnic's (TP) School of Engineering.

In their final year, they completed a six-month internship with the Building and Construction Authority (BCA), where the team of four had to pitch to schools for the Back to School Programme, a pioneer environmental initiative.

Mr Gordon Lim, 20, Miss Tng Jie Min, 20, Miss Zoe Cheng, 21, and Mr Xue Jiade, 19,were rejected by six of 10 schools.

But the two secondary schools they helped received Green Mark Golds - a step above the lowest grade Green Mark Certified - and two primary schools got Green Mark Gold Plus - a step below the highest grade of Green Mark Platinum - for their Green Mark Rating.

The rating is where buildings are evaluated by BCA for environmental impact and performance. By 2020, all public sector buildings with more than 5,000 sq m gross floor areas but less than 10,000 sq m air-conditioned floor areas are required by BCA to attain Green Mark Gold.

The results came after months of conducting gap analyses, pitching ideas and assisting with implementation.

Some changes they introduced include switching the schools' air-con to an energy-saving one, and changing the lights to energy-efficient LED lights.

They also held meetings with the schools' principals and vice-principals, and conducted workshops and talks for teachers and students about environmental sustainability.

Mr Lim told The New Paper: "When I ( start working), I know I must push for environmental sustainability."

He has been inspired by modules including the sustainable facility management in his poly.

"TP's IFM course equipped me with the relevant knowledge. The people from the schools were surprised at the knowledge we had. But we need more than theory-based learning," he said.

The rejections the team faced were discouraging.

"We felt demoralised and were doubting our abilities. But I'm thankful the (people) from the schools (we worked with) trusted us," Mr Lim said.

Miss Tng also said the internship has helped her mature.

"I now look at the world (differently). There are a lot of hardships I didn't know about, such as rejections," she said.

Lecturer-in-charge of the internship, Miss Joanne Koh, said the schools had rejected the team as they were "only teenagers".

"Though they are students, they were able to help the schools accomplish their goal. They received commendation letters," she said. "BCA is looking to work with TP again, and the team will coach juniors taking up this internship."

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