Inspiration from the Netherlands
It is morning and the students have just arrived at school in a small town in the Netherlands located outside of Groningen in the northern part of the country. This is where the school” De Zandplaat” is taking part in a project called “Energy Challenge”. The idea behind the project is for the students to find ways, in which, they can save energy in the school, so that they can reduce its CO2-emissions. This is a project that school has participated in for the last 4 years and has been successfully implemented. The project has not only been successful in terms of saving energy, but also when it comes to making the children participate actively and work together. To be quite frank, it is the students who are in control and have the responsibility, which they enjoy a lot. It is the job of the teacher to motivate, guide and help them on their way.
We are in an area that often experiences earthquakes. On the way to the school some of the reasons behind the earthquakes were in plain sight. A large area pumping out of the underground. The Netherlands has, for a long time, been victim of earthquakes, which is a result of drilling in the underground in order to obtain natural gas. What does this have to do with saving the energy at the local schools? In the Netherlands natural gas is used for the heating of buildings and the same goes for the schools. This is why an effort is made to reduce the consumption as much as possible so that less natural gas is used and, in the area, where the students, themselves, have felt the impact of the quakes it is even more motivation to save energy. That said, the earthquakes in the small Dutch town is not the biggest motivation for the students. Because if one asks them it is about protecting our planet, learning about sustainability and having fun.
More of the municipality’s schools are participating after the summer
In Denmark a school year has come to an end, but as always, another one begins after summer. For eight of Sonderborg municipality’s school this means that they are to participate in the Interreg-project 2imprezs, where the main goal is to create more awareness about sustainable behavior for the students and create CO2-reductions at the schools. 2imprezs is, in part, inspired by the Dutch concept called “Energy Challenge”, where the students are made to learn about sustainability and CO2-reductions. It is the students that together are to reduce the CO2-emissions at school and teach other students and the schools remaining staff about sustainable behavior. This can be done through the student council, as a class project, a project with main subjects or as a common project for the entire school. Every school is different, and that is why the project, that House of Science is project partner on, is made in such a way that every school finds a concept that suits. 2imprezs is, as mentioned before, an Interreg-project where the project partners are from Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark. From Denmark it is House of Science and the University of Southern Denmark, that are project partners and it is House of Science that together with the eight schools is to make the project work in the primary schools of Sonderborg in the first project year, which is viewed as a trial period.
The participating school are competing locally – and internationally
Earthquakes are, luckily, not something we experience too often in Sonderborg municipality, but it is still a good idea to try out the concept about saving energy in the primary schools of Sonderborg municipality. First of all, as it was mentioned with the Dutch students it is about getting better at taking care of the planet and it becomes more and more clear that this is necessary – especially for the younger generations. Secondly, as the Dutch students also said it can be fun and a good way of learning and one is hoping that the experience will be the same in primary schools of Sonderborg municipality.
Thirdly, this goes hand in hand with the ProjectZero-vision of a CO2-neutral growth area in 2029.
As a part of the project the eight schools are competing against each other and in, the end, the winning school will be measured on several criteria that are not yet completely defined but does not only consist of how much CO2 has been reduced at the school. Elements like innovation/creativity, outreach at school, including of the local community all matter. The competition also has an international dimension. The focus on behavior among the people of the school is a central part of the project. It is all about finding a way out of all the problems by installing smart technologies, which several schools have already done the last couple of years with things like automatization of light and water. The focus, however, is on the behavior and awareness and that is what will result in the school reducing CO2-emissions. The project is, at the moment, being made more specific for the individual school so that both staff and students can identify and hopefully contribute to a successful project, where the student learn about sustainable behavior and where they, with their knowledge and awareness, are to act in accordance with their competences.
Hoping for participation from more schools
2imprezs is to go on for the next two school years and in the first year eight primary schools in Sonderborg municipality are participating. Hopefully, all primary schools wish to be a part of the project during the two years.