Green Ideas

08 Gym and Elementry Classrooms
Dear ABA community member,

I am seeking your thoughts on our new secondary school project. In particular, I am looking for ideas relating to sustainability and how the school would fit well into the natural environment of Oman.

Thank you for your contributions.

Simon Taylor

3 Responses

  1. Diana Malik
    - large windows in walls and corridors facing east and west (away from direct sunlight). No blinds needed. - no bulletin boards. Instead, pinboard from floor to high on ceiling on walls in classrooms and common learning areas. Saves on backing paper and teachers' time. Holes close when pins are removed. Following this up with project manager of Ras Al Hamra school project to get name of material and where to purchase - motion sensing light fixtures (no more lights left on in toilets etc) - landscaping should include the following: area for vegetable garden so that organic produce can be grown and harvested by students; careful selection of plants that act as a natural heat barrier, provide better air quality and attract birds and insects
  2. Simon Wilson
    There is so much that could be done with the new campus, but adding sustainability ideas at the end of the design process rather than embedding sustainability as a principle from the outset will limit the real impact in terms of reduced energy and water consumption, better living environment for pupils and staff, use of building materials with less resource and carbon footprint etc. Ideally the interventions should also serve as teaching opportunities. The design should be designed to Estidama, LEED, BREAM, or QSAS standards (but not necessarily certified as this is costly and time consuming). That said, here are some ideas: +70% of a building's energy consumption is taken up in space cooling. Insulation is critical, as is keeping the building envelope air tight. That means doors that fit, high spec windows, insulation, high efficiency AC units that are well maintained and kept running optimally. Electricity consumption should be metered in sub-circuits using smart meters that report energy consumption to a logging unit so data can be analysed and the impact of behavioural changes measured (endless projects can arise from this). Some solar water heating should be installed. Install a weather station that can be accessed on line (around US$6k is enough). Water consumption is largely driven by irrigation so the landscaping palette should be largely water-wise, native plants (the Oman Botanic Garden can advise further). Modern efficient drip irrigation is an option, but if watering by hand is unavoidable each out door tap should be metered, and hose pipes should be fitted with a pistol grip to control the flow. Other water saving devices: waterless urinals (they work better than they sound!), pressure controllers, low volume toilets etc. Now the more 'fun' things: A biogas digestor to turn food waste into cooking gas and irrigation water Vegetable patch, composting bins, bee hives (needing more thought in the landscaping to ensure year round flowering), the application of permaculture thinking in the landscape design A small reedbed for polishing/purifying grey-water which then is used for irrigation or a shaded area cooled by evaporation Solar powered external lighting, solar assisted ACs, PV panels to shade car parking space, Creeping plants on the roof (watered by AC condensate) to provide shading and reduce heat gain (SQU has researched a system for this) Car parking areas could be permeable rather than tarmac'd, which would reduce the heat island effect and allow rain water to soak in There are some effective insulating and reflective paint systems available these days which help to reduce cooling requirements Use of natural rock for outdoor paving and edge treatment of the landscaping Adobe is a very organic material that can be used in some of the outdoor areas. Also, have a look at for inspiration - there are opportunities for student projects using this technology and local materials. More inspiration on the kinds of things that kids could achieve:
  3. Madeline
    The school is great, but adding more green parts would be great and having a garden area where kids can plant and sit down by the trees to read or eat would be amazing, with benches and some swings. I think what should be added is more green parts like that where the kids can sit and relax during breaks after their classes in the new campus. Following other peoples opinions maybe using more windows so there is natural sunlight for the classes that way there wont be many electricity lights being used.