Strategies to Deliver the Benefits of Green Education
As we drive to create more sustainable communities, isn’t it wise to educate our children to be more environmentally conscious? Each small effort that a school, parent, or student makes not only helps the environment today, but it also provides lessons and develops environmentally friendly habits.
7 Steps to develop eco-friendliness at school
Here are seven eco-friendly habits you can encourage your pupils, parents, and staff to develop:
Encourage students to walk to school
Set up a project that helps encourage students to walk to school. Help them learn how many calories they are burning and how much each step they take is reducing their personal carbon footprint. A great way to get kids to take more exercise, combining fitness, environment issues, and science!
Ask teachers and staff to car-share or use public transport
Do your teachers drive to school? Encourage them to set an example by car-sharing or using public transport.
Set up recycling bins
Provide recycling bins and encourage children to use them. Dot them around the playground and in school corridors, and make sure you recognize students who use them. Keep a tally as to how much waste you recycle each week or month, and maintain a wall chart that shows how your school is helping to reduce waste and pollution.
Hold upcycling clubs
We live in a throwaway society. Show your students that we don’t have to. Establish upcycling clubs or lessons in which children bring in something old and are taught how to be creative and turn the item into something new and usable. Work on their imagination, their mechanical skills, and their green credentials simultaneously.
Show off your plastic waste
Ask students to bring in all the plastic waste that is generated in their homes for one week. Collect it in bins, and then at the end of a week tip them out in each classroom. Discuss the types of plastic and the damage that it causes to the environment. Bag up the waste, and take it with students to a recycling plant to learn the benefits of recycling.
Turn off the light!
Designate a student in each class to be the one who turns off the light when all students have left the classroom.
Make environmentally friendly cleaners
Create a science project in which students are required to make and test environmentally friendly cleaners. Discuss the chemicals found in everyday cleaners, and how common household items can be used to make alternatives – then devise experiments to test their effectiveness.
Sustainable school design promotes eco-friendliness
A study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology in 2017 showed a distinct connection between children’s environmental attitudes and behaviors and school architecture. Those who attend schools that have been designed for sustainability are much more eco-friendly.
The question, then, is how can we design schools that naturally improve environmental awareness of their students?
Here are a few ideas that can be put into practice at any time, many of which should be considered during planning of new school infrastructure.
Skylights can be used as a replacement to existing lighting. Where this is not possible, high-efficiency LED lights can rescue electricity costs by as much as 70%.
Water and energy reduction in restrooms
There are many ways to reduce water wastage. These include:
In addition, during remodeling you might consider fitting restrooms with sinks made from recycled materials. High-efficiency hand dryers will help to reduce energy and paper towel waste.
Install plants that filter rain to the local aquifer, and ensure that eco-friendly materials are used in playground installations.
Build a green rooftop
Turn your rooftop green, with soil and vegetation that retains rainwater to be used in the building. This helps keep your school cool, and can be used to teach children how to grow their own crops, too.
Develop a solar roof
In addition to a roof garden, a school’s roof is ideal for the installation of solar panels to provide cheap energy.
When designing a new school building, you should consider factors that include:
Intensity of sunlight
Such factors will help you decide on building design, materials used, ventilations, and building methods that can be used, and enable you to:
Use appropriate eco-friendly materials
Employ technologies that minimize in-build environmental impact
Design for efficient water and energy usage and waste disposal
Good environmentally friendly design will also consider how best to insulate rooms, what color paint to use, how to shade areas, window construction, the need for air conditioning, etc. There are some simple strategies that can be used to help keep classrooms cool in the summer and warmer in the winter, such as the planting of deciduous trees.
Sustainable schools – benefiting the community and the environment
Around 25% of Americans (students, teachers, and support staff) attend school every day (Center for Green Schools). Research from the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology shows that around half of all illnesses are either caused or aggravated by indoor air quality.
Research shows that green, sustainable schools help to improve health as well as expand learning and develop eco-friendly mindsets. Over the long term, sustainable schools save taxpayer money, decrease environmental impact of education, encourage better water and waste management, and develop mentalities of recycling and habitat protection.
At ACB Consulting, we are committed to helping improve the communities in which we live, work, and play across the neighborhoods in which we work. To learn more contact ACB Consulting.