Climate change is upon us. Buildings are reasonable for over 30% of the world carbon emissions – this includes school buildings. There is no formal green school rating tool or stipulated criteria by the ministry of education for schools in South Africa. Much of the initiatives to save water and energy plus reduce carbon emission are left up to the school itself. So how does your school shape up?
There have been numerous studies on the impact of schools facilities on a pupil’s health and productivity. Emphasis is placed on indoor air quality, natural lighting and excellent acoustics in order to maximize student health, comfort and achievement. By focussing on these criteria, a school can then assess how to improve current facilities and design features.
A school can determine how green it is through a quick snapshot exercise. Does your school have the following?
- Regular indoor air quality testing
- A nett carbon zero policy
- Active energy and water management plan including performance measurement and monitoring
- Recycling programs for garbage and food waste
- Vegetable garden
- Grey and rain water recycling
- Solar water heating
- Photovoltaic electricity production ( solar power system)
- LED Lighting throughout
- Light movement sensors
- Low flow taps and shower heads
- Reminder signage – to save water and energy
- Electric vehicle parking and charging
- Public transport hubs (bus or train station)
- Double glazing
- Louvres, overhangs and blinds to improve thermal comfort in classrooms
- Outdoor classes
- Social integration activities with local communities and field trips
- Thermal roof insulation
- Classroom skylights for natural lighting
Greening your school will go a long way in preventing and mitigating the risks of climate change. It also creates a very high quality learning environment for pupils who are taught to make wise use of scarce resources.
Let us know how many of the 20 boxes your school ticks?