Posted on 8th June 2021
Across the globe, more and more schools are taking steps to become more circular and sustainable. Here are five schools that are truly pushing for economic innovation, sustainability, and circularity.
Based in Bali, Indonesia, the Green School is leading the way when it comes to sustainability and innovation. The school’s mission is to be a “green vortex,” creating green leaders. The school itself is built entirely from bamboo, powered by solar panels, and features an organic vegetable garden that is used for the canteen’s food. There are programmes for students from ages three through eighteen and ecology is incorporated into every subject taught.
The students are innovators, creating green solutions for the future. Sisters Britt and Marein Koens have started the “Bio Buses,” which are buses fueled by biodiesel made from the leftover cooking oil of nearby restaurants. Six buses currently run on the cooking oil biofuel, including the buses that bring students and teachers to and from The Green School Bali. A group of students called “The Grease Police” go around collecting oil from restaurants, bringing in around 300 litres per week. This is only one example of the kind of sustainable and circular initiatives students from this school are creating.
For more information on The Green School Bali explore their website.
In the United Kingdom, The Treehouse School is getting children informed and involved with sustainability from a very young age. There are two teachers and only fifteen students in the whole school, all between the ages of five and eleven. The school aims to raise students’ awareness of the environment, resources, and sustainability. The curriculum is hands-on, with the students monitoring the school’s food waste and energy usage. The Treehouse School is in the centre of Cholsey, so the children can walk or bike to school and all can access local resources by walking or using public transport. Currently, the school is in the process of building an eco-school to reduce its carbon footprint.
For more information on The Treehouse School follow their adventures on their website.
This private, secondary school from the United States of America, with the help of Project FROG, has added a “solarium” to their campus. The solarium houses the school’s zero energy, modular classrooms, powered by sixty solar panels. The project had a two million USD (1,639,200 EUR) budget and consists of 3,500 square feet (about 325 square metres) of classroom space, made from fifty percent recycled material. Watkinson’s solarium is currently used as a science complex for classes.
For more information on Watkinson School check out their website.
This school, in Clondalkin, South Dublin in Ireland, has collaborated with Microsoft, SSE Airtricity, and SEAI (Sustainable Energy Authority Of Ireland) to achieve its sustainability goals. With an investment of €250,000 (50% funded by SEAI), the school succeeded in reducing lighting costs by 90%, installing 30 solar PV panels, and reducing its electricity bills by 50%. To achieve the goals of the initiative, the school replaced the light fixtures in the main building with L.E.D. lights and sensors, replaced the main doors with automatic ones to reduce heat loss, brought in Hippo Bags for waste, installed solar panels and battery storage units, and fixed leaking water taps to reduce water waste.
However, the educators at this school did not want to only focus on structural sustainability; they wanted to educate the staff and students on sustainability as well. As part of their educational initiative, they organised trips, workshops, challenges, competitions, and hosted an ‘Energy Efficient Evening’ event. In attendance at the event were exhibitors from SEAI, SSE Airtricity, and Microsoft. During the ‘Energy Efficient Evening,’ the school showcased its sustainability and energy work and student leaders were invited to give speeches. Following the event, one of the students, Victory Luke, was asked to give a speech at the IEA’s (International Energy Agency) Annual Conference in Dublin.
For more information on Collinstown Park check out their website.
Beech Hill College, in Monaghan, Ireland, is working to eliminate all single-use plastic from the school’s campus in a student-led project called “plexit.” The idea for this project came from a group of six students who, for two hours a week, participated in science modules. The project’s goal is to reduce plastic usage and pollution around the school, especially from plastic bottles, cutlery, straws, and packaging. Starting in September 2019, the group of students brought in reusable, school-branded bottles for the members of their school to use instead of plastic bottles. In addition to the initiative itself, the school hosted a plastic-free event to promote the project and inform others of the detrimental effects of single-use plastic on the environment. Following the event, the principal, Patrick McArdle, signed a contract to ban single-use plastics from the campus. Since then, every student and parent has signed the contract as well.
For more information on Bech Hill College check out their website.
Here, at The Rediscovery Centre, we have many educational workshops on topics ranging from bees to global citizenship, teaching students about sustainability and the circular economy in a fun, interactive way. Additionally, we have a guide for sustainable classrooms, which you can take a look at by clicking here.
Please contact the Education Team for more information or to book: academy@rediscoverycentre.
More information on our education page.