Backcasting for Schools

Backcasting is a term invented by The Natural Step, which imagines a future vision and ideal objective and once having imagined the vision, understanding the steps that need to be taken to achieve this vision.

The Natural Step (Canada) defines this as follows: “The concept of “backcasting” is central to a strategic approach for sustainable development. It is a way of planning, in which a successful outcome is imagined in the future, followed by the question: “what do we need to do today to reach that successful outcome?” This is more effective than relying too much on forecasting, which tends to have the effect of presenting a more limited range of options, hence stifling creativity, and more important, it projects the problems of today into the future.”

From this perspective and by adapting the concept of backcasting to create clear objectives, specifically designed for your schools, Administrators and SGB's can look into a future with multitude 21st Century criteria and demands, where the greatest advantage will be reducing Electricity & Water running costs of the schools to a minimum, through the implementation of a series of Energy and Water Efficiency Measures.

We have deliberately “limited” the vision to reducing Electricity & Water Costs, as we consider it is important for Administrators and SGB’s to achieve short-term successes, by targeting “low-hanging fruit” objectives, easily obtainable over a period of 1 to 5 years.

Having said that, we are very aware that schools will be part of our communities for many decades to come and by understanding “status quo” base costs of Electricity & Water (say over the past 3 years), we can easily calculate the cost of continuing this “status quo” for the next say 25-years (the life-span of a Solar Photovoltaic System).

Your school is no doubt presently spending at least R800,000 each year on Electricity & Water. By assuming average annual increases of 6% over a 25-years period, your school will paid to the Municipality, the tidy sum of R44,000,000.

Considering Electricity and Water Costs have increased in excess of 300% over the past 10-years, creating an Electricity & Water Saving Vision will bring significant financial savings, together with the welcome “side effect” of enormously benefiting the environment.

Designing a vision to reduce your “status quo” cost by 80% is possible TODAY. Technology, know-how and accessibility is no longer the barrier. 

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Header Photo by The Natural Step Canada - Also reference The Natural