DUBAI // Children at the Swiss International School are not just learning the theory of sustainability and caring for the environment, they are putting their knowledge into action.
All pupils are involved in maintaining the school’s organic garden and taking part in recycling initiatives.
They are also studying clean energy production and about our responsibility to the Earth’s plants and animals.
“These kids are going to make choices not only about the environment and sustainability but their lives, where they buy food from, who they support by purchasing an item,” said Sabah Rashid, head of primary and part of curriculum development.
The school was set up last year in conjunction with the Swiss research institute Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Lausanne, which has a campus in Ras Al Khaimah (RAK).
It is believed to be one of the country’s most energy efficient buildings, alongwith the Masdar Institute and the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) headquarters.
While an average building in the UAE consumes 250 kilowatt hours per square metre per year, Masdar uses about 100-110, Dewa 100 and the school just 30 to 35, said Prof Franco Vigliotti, dean of EPFL’s RAK campus.
He described the school as a living research project and a “tool to understanding sustainability processes in this region”.
High-tech solutions such as cold lights, water coolers to encourage the reuse of bottles and sensors to ensure no electricity is wasted in rooms not being used, all contribute to keeping the school’s carbon footprint low and making the children aware of the environment in their daily routines.
Every 15 minutes, the outside temperature is recorded to “watch how the building is performing”, said Prof Vigliotti.
“We’re also looking at better understanding the outdoor comfort to see what kinds of activities the kids can do at what temperatures.”
Omar Danial, the founder of the school, said there were many benefits to the building beyond sustainability.
“Using less air conditioning is healthier because it’s less of a physical shock to the body when we keep it at around 24 degrees,” he said.
“It’s closer to the human body’s comfort zone.”
Source: uae news