Tamil Nadu gets new ‘green school’

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CHENNAI: In 2001, Italian couple Alfredo and Maria Elena Cuomo were united by a vision that set them on a path to alter many young lives – to help vulnerable children in India avail better education. And so, they set up The Cuomo Foundation, which till date, has given out 500 scholarships assisting students to attend colleges and universities, and helped another 4600 attend primary and secondary school.

The foundation’s latest milestone is a 3.5 acre ‘green school’ set up in the village of Mambakkam in Kanchipuram. The new secondary school, Amala Annai, is the latest in a series of educational compounds established and supported by the foundation, which has been working in Tamil Nadu since 1999.
Among the measures undertaken to make the school environmentally-friendly, are installation of openable grills and ventilated areas to enable natural air-flow without the presence of air-conditioning; energy-efficient light bulbs constituting up to 56% of the school’s light source and use of eco-friendly certified wood for up to 32% of the school’s wooden requirements.

“It took us six months to finalise the basic floor plan. The ‘green elements’ were executed during the second phase of the school’s construction and it took us a year-and-a-half to complete the building,” says Antoinette Deva Priya, the chief architect of the school.

The Amala Annai High School has also obtained the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certificate, an important recognition granted by the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC), affiliated to the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

“In the coming months, the school will be monitored by the chief architect, along with a Cuomo Foundation representative who works in Chennai. We are also planning to employ a ‘green manager’ to ensure all the measures are in place,” says Sarah Lieberson, consultant advisor, Cuomo Foundation.

On World Environment Day on June 5, the Tamil Nadu chapter of IGBC will present a green orientation programme along with architect Priya and members of Cuomo Foundation for the students of the school at 10.30 am.

“Without the children’s cooperation, this project’s success cannot be sustained. The orientation programme will train a team of 20 to 30 students to monitor tasks such saving water, responsible disposal of food and packaging waste and their regular recycling on a daily basis. We hope that an example of what we’ve built using strictly local resources and labour inspires other schools across the state to do the same,” says Lieberson.

source- Times of India