CHF International Inaugurates Innovative Green School in Kosovo

dancersPHOTO: Students at the Green School perform at the Inauguration

This spring CHF International inaugurated an innovative new Green School, equipped with cutting edge technology, in Kosovo. The school will serve as a model of sustainability and a learning tool for both the students that will attend it in the coming months as well as the Kosovo’s graduate students who will be monitoring its efficiency.

The Municipality of Pristina, Kosovo’s capital city, worked hand in hand with USAID in pioneering the Green School project, calling upon the technical skills their implementing partner, CHF International. In the past decade CHF and USAID have worked together to build schools in Kosovo, responding to severe overcrowding in the school system. Many schools in the country have been forced to run in 3-4 shifts per day, filling the classrooms to capacity in order to accommodate every child. In schools brimming with children the length of instruction time is often cut short.

Energy efficiency is an important issue in Kosovo, where much of the electricity used nation wide is provided by a coal-fueled power plant, emitting high quantities of pollution and providing little energy security. In fact, electricity black outs are still common in Kosovo. The Green School features four main goals; to reduce energy consumption and increase energy independence, to promote a healthy learning environment, to serve as tool for teaching about renewable energy and green construction, and finally to function as a pilot school, a replicable model for future Green Schools.

One of the systems the Green School uses to reduce energy usage is an efficient heating/cooling system which pumps hot or cold fluid through tubes installed throughout the building’s walls and floor. The heating is provided by solar panels on the roof while tubes that run through deep wells in the earth provide cooling. Temperature sensors activate the pumps, managing a system that is predicted to save the school between 30-60% on yearly energy costs. The school also boasts a rainwater catchment system and a light corridor running through the center of the school to maximize the natural light with strategically oriented windows and skylights.

school lobbyPHOTO: The Green School in Pristina, Kosovo

Another key feature of the school is that the flooring, ceiling panels, and wall paint are free of formaldehyde, asbestos or volatile organic compounds (VOCs). This healthy learning environment is an ideal setting to introduce students and teachers alike to environmental issues and green technology. Students will have access to the Green Roof, a space where plants and water catchment systems will also help to cool the school during the hot summer months.

CHF is facilitating a relationship between Kosovo’s Green School and the Sidwell Friends School – the most highly certified green school in the USA. Through this interaction Kosovo’s Green School can benefit from the experiences of an American green school. Graduate students at the University of Pristina’s Engineering School will also track the performance of the Green School’s technology, learning from and supporting the project simultaneously.

US Ambassador Dell, while attending the inauguration of the Green School, captured the potential of its benefits: “the education doesn’t stop with the children; the advanced engineering of this school is going to be used to teach engineering students at the University of Pristina about modern, environmentally friendly construction techniques. This actually has a benefit that goes well beyond the teaching of the children of this community; it’s something that’s going to modernize the entire construction industry in the country.”

The Green School is an important step in the transformation of Kosovo to a more efficient and modern country. It is a step on a path to a brighter, more sustainable future for Kosovo’s children.