See and feel what it means to go green - in school lab

Bukit View Secondary School students (from left) Marvyn Chia 15, Yeo Swe Hon, 15, and Wong Shi Ya, 16, operating a "solar car". The school's Joules (Junior Outstanding Leaders in Environment for Sustainability) Smart Centre was launched by Environmen
Bukit View Secondary School students (from left) Marvyn Chia 15, Yeo Swe Hon, 15, and Wong Shi Ya, 16, operating a "solar car". The school's Joules (Junior Outstanding Leaders in Environment for Sustainability) Smart Centre was launched by Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli yesterday.

Instead of learning about saving energy and eco-friendly features from textbooks, Bukit View Secondary School students will get to see and feel their effects on the environment for themselves through a new green learning lab.

For instance, they will get to judge how an indoor green wall - covered in plants - muffles noise by absorbing acoustic energy, and how it improves indoor air quality.

They will also get to feel how using a combination of ceiling fans and air-conditioning set to higher temperatures can still be comfortable while using less energy than just using an air-conditioner set to low temperatures. Two fans near the door turn on only when motion is detected and the air-con system harnesses solar energy and ambient heat.

Other eco-friendly features include tables made of recycled wood pellets.

Launching the Joules (Junior Outstanding Leaders in Environment for Sustainability) Smart Centre yesterday, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli called it a "good example of sustainability practised". "I hope the facility will inspire students to think about incorporating sustainable living in every aspect of their life, and to turn some of these ideas into action," he said.

The centre will hold special classes during curriculum time, as well as school events and functions. The school has plans to open it to the community.

Mr Tan Swee Yiow, president of the Singapore Green Building Council, which helped to set up the centre, said green features are better for the environment and healthier for a building's occupants.

Students Brian Lee and Akarapu Srinath, both 16, operating a "sea perch" which measures the temperature of water in the pond. Bukit View Secondary School students (from left) Marvyn Chia 15, Yeo Swe Hon, 15, and Wong Shi Ya, 16, operating a "solar ca
Students Brian Lee and Akarapu Srinath, both 16, operating a "sea perch" which measures the temperature of water in the pond.

According to a study by the Building and Construction Authority, green buildings are better equipped than regular buildings to filter out pollutants as well as harmful bacteria and fungi. Workers are hence 60 per cent less likely to get headaches, for instance.

Mr Tan said the council will carry out a case study on the centre which will be used to encourage more schools to set up greener, healthier classrooms.

Samantha Boh

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 23, 2018, with the headline 'See and feel what it means to go green - in school lab'. Print Edition | Subscribe