Public school in Buzău become first-ever "green school" in Romania
Public school nr. 11 from Buzău boasts to be the first “green school” ever created in Romania. The school was transformed during the 2018-2020 period through a project initiated by the Buzău City Hall and supported by the European Green Deal program.
The project required funds worth EUR 200,000, partially raised locally and in part received from the EU.
The school came to attention after it was visited by the Romanian President, Klaus Iohannis earlier this week. The President was seemingly pleased with what he saw there as he stated: "We have developed material that puts special emphasis on environmental education in Romanian schools, but today we saw that we have a school here that is already applying a lot of what we think should be implemented in schools.”
According to the 2022 Presidential Climate and Sustainability Report, a "green school" is an educational institution that is committed to environmental issues, that manages its resources responsibly and sustainably, and has an open attitude towards the community, establishing collaborative relationships with local co-interested actors, especially with regards to environmental, climate, and sustainability issues.
The concept is gaining traction both in Romania and in the rest of the European Union.
The European Commission’s EU Education Area states that „Learners of all ages need to be able to develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to live more sustainably, change patterns of consumption and to contribute to a greener future. Education and training have a key role to play in supporting people to move from awareness about the environment to individual and collective action.”
School nr. 11 in Buzau meets these principles, as it engages in a circular economy and is almost fully self-sufficient: The building’s heating system, plumbing system, and fire safety system rely on collected rainwater and water extracted from the ground. Electricity is produced via solar panels placed on the building’s roof.
Waste is separated into different fractions: paper, plastic, aluminum, glass, batteries, light bulbs, and biodegradable materials. All recyclables are sent to a special facility. All biodegradable materials are composted on-site. In a statement made to Edupedu.ro, Buzău mayor Constantin Toma said that the school has reached a selective collection rate of 80%.
Due to these eco-friendly measures, the school has managed to drastically reduce its carbon emissions and has also seen a reduction of around EUR 13,000 in the annual cost of utilities.
But although the low costs are certainly an attractive feature of the green school concept, the Buzău mayor told Adevărul that „The most important aspect of this project is its educational role”.
The more than 2,000 pupils that attend this school are learning about environmental protection, and sustainable consumption, whether it’s through observing the way the school is administered, in special classes dedicated to these subjects, or in the botany lessons that are held in the school's greenhouse (which is irrigated by the same eco-friendly water collection system used for the main building’s utilities).
(Photo source: Primaria Buzau Facebook page)