Waterbank School and Sing Yin Secondary School are 'Greenest Schools on Earth'
The Waterbank School at Uaso Nyiro Primary in Laikipia, Kenya and the Sing Yin Secondary School for boys in Hong Kong have been revealed as the Greenest Schools on Earth in an announcement by the US Green Building Council (USGBC) at the World Green Building Council Annual Congress. The projects were both handpicked by an experienced jury panel for their sustainable credentials and presented with $5,000 each to help fund a new or ongoing 'green' scheme.
Designed by ATOPIA Research/PITCHAfrica, the Waterbank School Building in Kenya is a low cost scheme conceptualised specifically for regions with little available water. Using local materials and labour, the building takes a linear classroom form encircled by a garden wall which provides protection while moderating the microclimate. There are facilities to grow fresh vegetables plus a community workshop and performance space, alongside four indoor/outdoor classrooms with the capacity for 50-60 children each.
At the centre of the school’s courtyard is a 150,000m reservoir with an integrated filtration system that stores water collected from the building’s 600 sq m roof catchment area. It is anticipated that project will yield 350,000 litres of rainwater annually, which means that the 200 or more students studying at the Waterbank School will each receive 5 litres of water a day year round. Since its opening, the school has recorded attendance levels rising from 70% to 90% and a drop in waterborne diseases to zero cases.
“It is a great honour for the Uaso Nyiro Primary School to receive this prestigious international recognition. The staff, pupils, parents and surrounding community are delighted that our hard work and efforts to transform our school from an arid semi-desert into the oasis of greenery with water to spare have been recognised,” said Patrick Mwaura, headmaster of Uaso Nyiro Primary School.
The Sing Yin Secondary School in Hong Kong, designed by Mao & Partners, also received a prize fund of $5,000 for its outstanding green features. With widespread integration of thin-film solar panels, light and motion sensors, LED lighting, green roofs, an organic farm, bamboo corner and aquarium, the scheme subtly combines elements of sustainability into almost every feature of the design.
Outside the school walls, Sin Yin Secondary School encourages its students - led by 100 environmental monitors, prefects and ambassadors - to engage in community projects such as last year’s Green School, Green Family campaign to help local people reduce their energy usage.
Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO and Founding Chair of the USGBC, said: “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.”