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Squared 20160422 scool hundred photos mankolanyhtenaiskoulu valinnat 2
Finland
Heating the school using renewable energy sources

Sustainable Future for the Whole School

Marker Helsinki, Finland
Integrating sustainable future into the school culture using a student-centered approach to discover innovative energy solutions. Sustainable future encompasses energy production and collaboration with the power company Helen Ltd, but it also includes social and cultural sustainability.
Introduction

What is it all about?

“Almost 300 children of all ages have learnt to recognize how energy for heating is produced and used in their school. Production data can be used in a variety of exercises in different subjects such as math, physics and mother tongue.”

From the materials of Helen Ltd

A sustainable future means a future that is ecologically, socially and culturally sustainable. Everyone is responsible for building a sustainable tomorrow. We can take part in many ways to secure the wellbeing of our planet and ourselves.

The “Sustainable Future for the Whole School” model explains how you can begin to change the world starting with your own school. Teachers and students become more aware of their own possibilities to make a difference as well as their energy consumption habits, for example.

The theme is carried through the project using a multidisciplinary approach and versatile methods. Students of all ages are encouraged to participate and create their own questions and search the answers to aspects of energy use they find interesting.

The overarching theme is heating, which cuts through the subjects of energy and the different aspects of sustainability. Heat is something that does not only occur through production and innovative energy solutions – it can also occur between two people from a social point of view. This is why cultural and social sustainability are integral to the model during the next school years. The school will launch many initiatives in the fall of 2017 that focus on strengthening the students' cultural identity with different projects concerning the Finland 100 Program. In addition, the students learn to use their strengths to foster wellbeing and learning with the Finnish Huomaa hyvä (“Notice the good”) strength-based pedagogy.

Sakarinmäki Comprehensive School has partnered with Helen Ltd as a pilot school since 2013. The goal has been to experiment with innovative energy solutions and the students and teachers have brainstormed how to utilize them for learning purposes since the inception.

The school worked together with Helen Ltd to update the building's heating system to run with renewable energy sources. About 80% of the school's heating comes from geothermal and solar power after installing a geothermal power system, a boiler, solar panels and thermal energy storage. Due to the use of biofuel, the heating comes from 100% renewable energy sources. The collaboration with Helen Ltd has been fruitful because it has allowed the school to see for themselves how energy is produced.

The heating system and integrating energy issues into their teaching has garnered plenty of positive attention for Sakarinmäki comprehensive school. Renovating the heating system brought the school an honorable mention at the 2013 “Vuoden uusiutuva energiateko” competition (“Renewable Energy Act of the Year Awards.”) The heating system is also nominated in the international District Energy Climate Awards held every two years.

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Intended Outcomes
362
Views
7 - 16
Age Group
2016
Established
Resources Needed
The leadership must commit to the plan. The entire school should be engaged to achieve a real impact by linking the model to a yearly plan. Additional needs: an internet connection as well as laptops for digital tracking and reporting. Later possibly solar panels, wind mills etc.
HundrED Criteria
innovativeness
impact
scalability
We produce our own heating, but waste only positive energy.
The model imparts knowledge on the cultural and ecological dimensions of a sustainable future.
You can adapt this model to your own project using Helen Ltd's data, if desired.
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See this innovation in action.


Steps

Inspired to implement this? Here's how...

01
Let's Get Started
The school should appoint a sustainability teacher coordinator.
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02
Sustainability student team
The teacher coordinator runs a Sustainability team of students. The team should have regular meetings where they plan and promote sustainability projects at school. This team works to improve school satisfaction and environmental issues.
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03
Student-centered projects on energy consumption
Students team up and create their own projects on sustainable future. This allows change in school culture to come from the students' needs.
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04
The school's heating solution using renewable energy
Contact your power supplier and discuss different heating solutions for your school.
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05
Making the school culture visible in everyday activities in pr...
A sustainable future means so much more than a physical change or making teaching more concrete.
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