04/17/2015 12:05 EDT | Updated 04/17/2015 12:59 EDT

Pickering's Dunbarton High Named 'Greenest School On Earth'

Center for Green Schools

The U.S. Building council has crowned a Pickering, Ont. high school with the title “Greenest School on Earth.”

Recognized for its "zero environmental impact," Dunbarton High School was selected from 40 entries collected across 20 countries.

It was Dunbarton's composting initiatives and bee condominiums that made its application stand out. The school was also recognized for incorporating sustainable design into its 1960s-era building.

So what makes a school have zero environmental impact?

Over the last five years, Dunbarton has undergone an incredible transformation. Retrofit with new energy-efficient windows, the school retains its heat with extra foam insulation. New fluorescent lighting was then wired in to help reduce electricity consumption.

Dunbarton is "an excellent example of a school that engages its students at every turn, placing them in the driver's seat and empowering them to improve their environment inside and out," said Center for Green Schools director Rachel Gutter in a news release Wednesday.

The school's biodiversity program and coursework is also impressive. There's a 500-square metre pollinator garden on its grounds to teach students about the interconnected parts of ecosystems and outdoor classes ranging from salmon habitat restoration to co-op placements with Parks Canada.

There's also a 40-seat outdoor classroom that teachers are encouraged to book and use.

"Greenest School on Earth" is an annual award given to a K-12 school that “exemplifies how sustainability can be integrally woven into the infrastructure, culture and curriculum.”

Dunbarton's global recognition has floored students and staff. For members of the school's environmental club, the award is a testament their hard work and dedication to sustainable practices has value.

"National and the world, that's insane,” student Shantosh Pushparajah said to Global News

Photo credit: Center for Green Schools

"This is what the world need to adapt to a changing future, you people prepared to take action in a supportive community," added Dunbarton teacher David Gordon.

Along with bragging rights as the “Greenest School on Earth," Dunbarton was also awarded $1000—money that will help build 10 new bee condominiums for the school garden.

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