The United States Green Building Council has named Sing Yin Secondary School in Hong Kong the greenest school on Earth.
The low-income school teaches students the importance of sustainable living and highlights a variety of ways to do so.
A wide range of renewable energy sources are used to power the boys' school and educate the students. Leading by example, the building uses wind turbines and solar panels and has a green roof. It also features a bamboo garden, a self-contained coral aquarium and an organic farm.
The classrooms in which the students learn are also green facilities in which they learn to use energy responsibly.
The classrooms are equipped with motion sensors which turn off air conditioning and lights if no movement is detected. Fluorescent LED white light tubes are used to conserve energy, and auto-dimmers dim the lights nearest the window if sunlight is strong.
Double glazed windows help to minimise heat radiation and noise while solar photovoltaic panels outside the windows turn sunlight into energy and minimise heat radiation from entering the classrooms. A solar shade reduces the need for air conditioning in summer months and an automatic weather station sends real time data to the classrooms so they can adjust the air conditioning accordingly.
Sing Yin’s roof includes intricately placed solar tracking photovoltaic panels to enhance energy-capturing efficiency. Panels are fitted with water tubes which simultaneously heats up water for bathing while converting sunlight into energy.
The rooftop garden helps to remove carbon dioxide from the environment while lowering atmospheric temperatures. Vertical wind turbines on top of the building convert wind energy to electrical energy.
The ground floor exhibits a plethora of sustainable energy devices. LED lights are powered by solar and wind energy, the library windows were designed with sandwiched PV panels, the bamboo garden helps to convert carbon dioxide to oxygen, and the office windows have a thermal insulating coating.
LED lights are used in the school’s hallways, which are equipped with solar powered water sprinklers to be used in the event of a fire.
The school’s lift is designed to regenerate electrical energy by recovering gravitational potential energy as electrical energy when the lift goes down.
Sustainability is a large part of the curriculum at Sing Yin, with 100 students selected each year to take on a role as environmental monitors and ambassadors. The school is also active in encouraging the community to become more energy efficient through various campaigns.
Being surrounded by an extraordinary green design and taught the principles of living sustainably will no doubt breed a future of energy-responsible students eager to put their education to good use.
The Global Coalition for Green Schools awarded the school $5,000 to put toward an ongoing or new sustainability project.