Competing with 5 local high schools, Centennial CVI recently won $500 from local not-for-profit eMERGE Guelph by engaging students in Project Neutral. Project Neutral, a carbon footprint calculator that allows users to benchmark and compare household impact was launched by eMERGE this past October. Since then over 260 households across Guelph have engaged with Project Neutral, bolstered by the recent participation of high schools.

“Project Neutral is designed to engage Guelphites in friendly competition to see how residents compare to friends and neighbours as they work to reduce their environmental impact. With high school students already involved in the conversation around climate change and sustainable living, having them take part in the program was a perfect fit.” stated Steve Yessie, Project Neutral Coordinator.

Centennial CVI got off to an early lead, holding off St. James Catholic who made a big push late in the
competition. Centennial’s success was spearheaded by Elizabeth Davidson who found a strong fit inside the classroom with the existing lesson plan.

Centennial CVI won $500 to put specifically toward a sustainable project of their choosing. With the
prize money, the high school hopes to install additional bicycle racks at the school to encourage
students and the wider community to consider sustainable transportation opportunities by making it
easy for those to bike to find a safe and reliable place to lock up.

Project Neutral has found a strong fit in the classroom. Within the curriculum students are asked to
assess how lifestyle and behaviour affect their personal environmental impact. Project Neutral allows students to calculate a baseline for their impact, leading students to then develop action plans to reduce their overall carbon footprints.

For its part, eMERGE intends to continue to engage local high schools in Project Neutral, including more competitions in years to come. Project Neutral is one of three programs that eMERGE hosts in an effort to assist Guelph residents reduce their environmental impact and save money, encouraging the conversation around sustainability and stewardship across the city.

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