• Children grow with nature in eco-friendly schools in Vadodara
     August 30th, 2012     Kunal     Posted in Education In Gujarat, Gujarat in News

    These schools are turning green with a vengeance, but, it’s not the colour of envy — it stands for soothing, verdant environs where children can learn to embrace nature with open arms, and learn to be environment-friendly.

    Worried about the global warming and keen to walk the talk on their lessons in environment studies, a few schools in the ‘sanskar nagri’ have recently adopted eco-friendly technology, and hope to instill the sense of environment preservation among the future citizens of the country.

    In the junior wing of Prince Ashokraje Gaekwad school in Manjalpur, a coconut tree is growing inside the room and jutting out of the roof of the chairperson’s office, while interlocking blocks made of green marble and yellow stones make up the walls of the classrooms that keep the heat out. The insulation comes from paper-mache and used plastic which goes into the hollows of the blocks made of eco-friendly material. The walls require no paint, thus, no harmful elements like lead or formaldehyde is inhaled or allowed to pollute underground water.

    Low window sills all around the rooms and funicular arches on the ceilings made with colourful stone chips turns the classrooms into bright, cheery rooms, which cut down the use of artificial light while the architectural design turns the building earthquake resistant.

    The junior wing has been built by Faridabad-based award winning architect Prof Anil Laul who has won international acclaim for inventing cost-effective technologies for sustainable development, including the inter-locking blocks used here. “Due to the use of environment friendly material, the cost of the construction has been brought down by almost 25-30% as compared to conventional building material. Brick and steel are used sparsely,” says V Vardarajan, the school principal, who has taught widely in India as well as abroad.

    Green is the leitmotif of Nalanda National School, on the city’s outskirts. Made with exposed bricks, which again work well against heat, keeping in view the city climate, the school has opened courtyards and arched corridors which keep the building ventilated and reduces the requirement for artificial light. The rainwater harvesting system helps keeps the lawns green and meets other requirements for water in the school, while provision has been made for solar power utilization too.

    “Teachers are encouraged to take students out to ‘Vrindavan’, a fruit orchard on the edge of the campus which has 150 trees of mango, chikoo and guava. We often hold the classes there while the tiny-tots learn to recognize fruit trees,” says senior school principal Shobha Menon.

    At the Navrachna international school Vadodara, there is no need for artificial lighting in the classrooms and corridors during daylight hours. All run-off rainwater from the roof is collected and harvested by re-charging the underground aquifers. Waste water from toilets and the kitchen is recycled for upkeep of sports grounds, the grass tennis courts, the kitchen gardens and plants in the building’s numerous courtyards. “We are also using solar hot water systems to pre-heat the water for use in the hostels and the kitchen,” informs Pradeep Sinha, managing committee member of Navrachna Education Society.