Green Schools

Romania Green Building Council, the main national organization dedicated to buildings sustainability, has launched a certification system for schools, called Green Schools.

A multidisciplinary team of experts, representatives from the Romanian National Lighting Committee, Zero Waste Romania, the National Radon Association, the Technical University of Construction Bucharest - Faculty of Installations Engineering, contributed to the elaboration of the technical criteria.
Currently, 14 schools under construction or major renovation in Bucharest, Iasi and Cluj-Napoca, are in the process of Green Schools certification. 
The certification program includes 7 categories and 54 criteria related to the design, execution and operation stages, as follows:
Health and quality of the indoor environment 
The quality of the indoor environment affects the health of children, which is why the requirements of the program impose measures to prevent contamination with radon, a radioactive gas dangerous to the respiratory system, which is found in the Earth's crust. Test for checking the contamination with formaldehyde and other VOCs dangerous to health, will also be performed. Other measures include abundant natural lighting, efficient ventilation systems, acoustic comfort, prevention of mold and moisture in locker rooms and bathrooms, and biophilic design - the inclusion of natural elements such as vegetation in classrooms and other indoor spaces, which contribute to children's physical and mental well-being. 
Circular economy and resource conservation 
Children will learn about how to become responsible consumers, about planned wear and tear of materials and products, minimizing waste generation, separate collection at source, reducing food waste, composting and eliminating disposable plastic. The certification encourages the use of natural, non-toxic, fire resistant materials and products with ecological design and low carbon footprint, that can be reused or recycled at the end of their life cycle. 
Exemplary energy performance 
Energy performance involves educating children about the importance of reducing energy consumption and encourages optimization solutions such as efficient facades, renewable energy sources, motion and twilight sensors, thermostat for controlling the ambient temperature and an intelligent management system. Archiving the objectives imposed by NZEB requirements is mandatory, while exceeding them leads to obtaining additional points and recognizing a higher level of environmental performance. 
Optimization of water consumption 
Optimizing water consumption is important because although 70% of the Earth's surface is covered with water, only 2,5% is suitable for drinking water consumption and only 1% is can be directly accessed and used. The amount of water per capita, globally, is declining, and contaminated water remains one of the most important elements causing serious illness and even death. The proposed solutions include the installation of sanitary equipment with low water flow, drip irrigation or landscaping with local, easily adaptable plants that require low maintenance and water consumption as well as rainwater collection and recycling. 
It involves gardening solutions that protect the soil and groundwater from artificial fertilizers and pesticides, as well as its own food production through creation of urban gardens according to the principles of urban permaculture, the arrangement of spaces dedicated to insects, birds, etc. 
Sustainable transport
The mobility strategy proposed in the Green Schools program will change the way children will travel on the home-school route. Smart and sustainable transport will be encouraged, which will substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pollutants. Bicycles and buses electrically powered, non polluting, dedicated to school activities are proposed, together with the installation of electric charging stations. 
Monitoring and education 
It involves the adoption of internal policies on a holistic vision of the environment, monitoring the implementation of measures in the operation phase of the building, encouraging sustainable procurement; involvement of children in monitoring waste generation; a participatory process of consultation with all stakeholders (children, parents, teachers, authorities); teacher and administrative training; courses dedicate to children with a focus on learning by doing activities. 
The Green Schools certification developed by Romania Green Building Council, is a useful tool, a roadmap for all those involved in the design, construction and operation of a school. Through independent monitoring and holistic approach, the certification system guarantees an authentic environmental sustainability performance both at the building and community level. 
If you need support in the design, construction, renovation and certification of a Green School, contact Monica Ardeleanu via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.