At the World Green Building Council (WGBC) Annual Congress, the Center for Green Schools (Center) at the U.S. Green Building Council officially announced the 2013 Greenest Schools on Earth. The recipient schools were Sing Yin Secondary School in Hong Kong, China, and the Uaso Nyiro Primary School in Laikipia, Kenya. The announcement was made by the Global Coalition for Green Schools, a newly formed initiative of the Center, in partnership with WGBC. The two winning schools were awarded $5,000 each to put toward a new or ongoing sustainability project.
“The Greenest School on Earth recognition aims to showcase a school’s commitment to sustainability. But 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,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair, USGBC. “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.”
The Sing Yin Secondary School, which largely serves low-income students, boasts 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, motion sensors and more. The school recruits about 100 students every year to serve as environmental monitors, prefects and ambassadors. Within the community, they organized a ‘Green School, Green Family’ campaign last year in which students and their families had to conduct energy saving activities to save household electricity.
"The Sing Yin Secondary School aims to provide one of the best educations in the world with a global perspective for boys in our local community," said Mr. Kwok But, principal of the Sing Yin Secondary School. "We are pleased and excited that our efforts on promoting environmental education could be well recognized."
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 labor 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 theater for school community gatherings and environmental theater. The school serves a disadvantaged community with 25 percent living on less than $1.25/day. Since opening, school attendance has risen from 70 to 90 percent and instances of waterborne disease have dropped to zero.
'It is a great honor 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 recognized,” said Patrick Mwaura, headmaster of Uaso Nyiro Primary School.
The Panel of judges for this year’s Greenest Schools on Earth included:
John Mandyck, chief sustainability officer, UTC, Climate, Controls & Security and co-chair of the Center for Green Schools Advisory Board
Jane Henley, CEO, World Green Building Council and co-chair of the Global Coalition for Green Schools
John Hardy, founder of Green School Bali
Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair, U.S. Green Building Council and chair of the World Green Building Council
Peter Templeton, senior vice president of Global Market Development, U.S. Green Building Council