An educational green buildings competition was used by more than 150 students from 33 public schools in Qatar to help raise awareness about the benefits of green buildings and living by designing and building a model of an environmentally sustainable home.

The competition, co-hosted by Qatar Green Building Council (QGBC), a member of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF), and the Supreme Education Council (SEC), was part of a wider national campaign to educate young people about environmental issues and challenges facing Qatar.

It included a feature on the design of sustainable houses and how they can reduce the impact on the environment through efficient water and energy use, and waste reduction, as well as promoting better indoor air quality.

A key aspect included QGBC’s Qatar Passivhaus, Project Baytna, the first of its kind of sustainable housing in Qatar and that aims to help the country reduce residential energy consumption by 50%.

The collaboration started with QGBC delivering a tailored sustainability and green buildings training programme for more than 40 science teachers and SEC specialists about green building core concepts.

The participating schools undertook a three-week project for their grade eight students to design a model of a sustainable house. The groups first outlined their concepts before implementing the design and construction stages.

The 10 qualifying models were tested using sensors and simulators to measure thermal insulation, daylight and natural ventilation inside the model.

The three best performing winning models were judged to come from the teams at Al AQSA Independent Schools for Girls, Mesaieed Elementary Independent School for Girls and Moza Bint Mohammed School for Girls.

“The competition is aimed at nurturing innovation among students and allowing them to think creatively through applying theoretical science concepts to real-world problems,” Fatima Al Rashid, Head of the Science Department at SEC Curriculum Standards Office, said. “This year’s competition focused on training grade eight students to create models of environmentally-friendly houses by using some of the concepts they learnt in their science classes.”

Reem Naser, a student at Mesaieed Elementary School for Girls, whose housing model was one of the winners, said: “The scientific research phase was really difficult, but we enjoyed the training and education to understand the concept better, and we were proud to create the winning model. It has been a great learning opportunity for us and we would like to see more of these interactive projects incorporated into our curriculum.”

For Nora Al Qahtani, a student from Zainab Independent Elementary School for Girls, sustainability is an important part of daily lives at homes.

“We need to be prepared how to deal with environmental issues like increasing recycling, and reducing water and electricity consumption at home,” she said. “This competition taught us all of these simple, but very important aspects of sustainability, which we can use in our homes.”

Hala Yousef, Chair of QGBC’s Green Education Interest Group, said that green education was significant to fostering a culture of sustainability among young people.

Source: Gulf News