17 October 2013 — Two schools – one in China and one in Kenya – have been declared joint winners of the US Green Building Council’s Greenest Schools on Earth competition.
Sing Yin Secondary School in Hong Kong, China and the Uaso Nyiro Primary School in Laikipia, Kenya will receive US$5000 towards a new or ongoing sustainability project.
The Sing Yin Secondary School has an organic farm, two green roofs, a bamboo corner and an aquarium. Most classrooms are equipped with thin-film solar panels or sun-shading devices, advanced LED lighting, light sensors and motion sensors.
The school recruits about 100 students every year to serve as environmental monitors, prefects and ambassadors. Within the community, they organised a “Green School, Green Family” campaign last year where students, mostly low income, and their families had to conduct energy saving activities to save household electricity.
The Uaso Nyiro Primary School’s unique Waterbank School Building, conceived and designed by PITCHAfrica and built in partnership with the Zeitz Foundation, is an alternative low cost school designed for poor regions in need of water.
The school, built from local materials with local labour for the same cost as a conventional linear school, stores and filters clean water for the children year round, provides protected gardens for growing fresh vegetables and includes a community workshop and courtyard theatre for school community gatherings and environmental theatre.
The school serves a disadvantaged community with 25 per cent living on less than $1.25 a day. Since opening school attendance has risen from 70 to 90 per cent and waterborne disease has dropped to zero.
US GBC president Rick Fedrizzi said the Greenest School on Earth aimed to showcase a school’s commitment to sustainability, though this year they had decided to award two schools because of their standout efforts.
“When we sat down to review this year’s submissions, we felt that we had two schools whose environmental efforts, though very different, were extraordinary in both execution and achievement.
“We selected both of these schools because of what they say about one another and also about the scale and scope in the movement – they demonstrate that across the world, from community to community and from city to village, no matter where we learn, where we learn matters.”