Gaza’s Getting 20! Zero-Emissions Eco-Schools

sustainable development, green design, solar energy, eco-schools, Gaza, UNRWA, environmental education, green building, renewable energy

In time, students living in Gaza Strip will no longer be vulnerable to the politics du jour

In an unprecedented move, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) has unveiled plans to build as many as 20 zero-emissions schools throughout the Gaza Strip, which will rely entirely on renewables for their energy supply. The agency has teamed up with architect Mario Cucinella to apply the most cutting edge sustainable innovations to the schools that will be completely self-sustaining. Plans for the Gaza schools are currently being displayed at the COP 17 conference in Durban and will render education in the Gaza Strip significantly less vulnerable to the politics du jour. Find out how after the jump.

sustainable development, green design, solar energy, eco-schools, Gaza, UNRWA, environmental education, green building, renewable energy

In the Gaza Strip, energy and water are often used to motivate a particular political agenda, leaving hundreds of Palestinians without a reliable supply. This is set to change dramatically – at least for schools. (See images of the stunning water murals of Gaza.)

The design calls for a standalone building that will be constructed out of locally-sourced materials. It will be powered using solar energy, and cooling and heating will come from the ground. Excellent thermal massing will ensure that the building stays cool during hot summers, to facilitate a comfortable learning environment for 800 students.

Rainwater will be harvested and recycled so that no clean water will be used for cleaning, irrigation, or plumbing.

The first zero-emissions school will cost $2 million, which is no more than UNRWA usually spends on an educational facility in the region. Funding will come from the Kuwait Fund (via the Islamic Development Bank), although the agency has expressed need for further support.

Although the current focus remains on building schools in Gaza, UNRWA also operates in the West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria, where it is hoped 1/2 a million refugees will eventually have access to a bright green education!

:: UNRWA

6 thoughts on “Gaza’s Getting 20! Zero-Emissions Eco-Schools

  1. Tafline Laylin Post author

    Hey Tinamarie… “Funding will come from the Kuwait Fund (via the Islamic Development Bank), although the agency has expressed need for further support.”

    I hope they get it and that this project soars!

    Reply
  2. Tinamarie

    I hope these schools get off the ground too. I wonder – who are the major funders behind the grant? I’d love to see them get recognized too. There are donors, doers and daveners as they say, and all help to build a better world. Good story, Tafline.

    Reply
  3. Tafline Laylin Post author

    Jad – you are making some serious assumptions here. Nobody said anything about Hamas. We understand what happens in Gaza. (Although, we did cover a story once about how Hamas thwarts solar developments in the region… check it out.) In any case, the point is, we hope the project is successful and that it isn’t shut down by ANY political factions.

    Reply
  4. Jad

    I couldn’t disagree with either of you more; Hamas has done more to keep the infrastructure running in Gaza than anyone else and has opened and maintained schools, hospitals, etc as best they could despite the ongoing blockade. If anyone will be destroying schools in Gaza, the best at it are the Israelis

    Reply

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