One way to indoctrinate children on living green is to teach them in a green passive school that requires little energy consumption. This is what they are attempting in East German Schwarzheide, as reported at the online Lausitzer Rundschau daily.
There’s only one small problem: The lesson in living repsonsibly to protect the climate has backfired. The school’s ventilation is so bad that it is making students and teachers get ill by the score. Hat-tip: EIKE.
In general, a passive building typically has very low air infiltration from outside and is heavily insulated to ensure low thermal heat loss. Indeed heating requirements can be as low as 15 kwh per square meter of occupancy space per year. In the wintertime air intake is heated, and in the summertime the building uses the cool night air along with lots of shading for cooling. These types of buildings, at least in north Germany, are not equipped with air conditioning.
Unfortunately at the Schwarzheide SeeCampus school in Niederlausitz, the climate system in the school building doesn’t work like the architectural models thought it would. According to the Lausitzer Rundschau:
Pupils and teachers dread every school day at the SeeCampus. If the deodorant of just one person fails to work, then half the classroom goes into a coma. The ventilation in the exemplary passive building is a catastrophe. There’s an extreme lack of fresh air on hot days. Because of concern over the health of the children, who complain about headaches and fatigue, parents are threatening to stop operation of the school through legal action.
The school building SeeCampus in Niederlausitz becomes completely overheated on summer days and is badly ventilated. Headaches and cardio-respiratory problems with pupils and teachers are the result. The number of sick days is climbing rapidly.”
According to the website of the proud window and door supplier, Wiegand, the 3-storey €23 million school was built in 15 months and was dedicated during a party-like ceremony in February 2011 by Brandenburg State Minister President Platzeck, and State Council member Heinze accepted the Certificate from the Passive Building Institute.
Pupils and teachers being used as human guinea pigs to test the green experiment. Despite all the complaints, authorities have taken no action and are playing down the problems. According to teacher and administrator Andrea Eisenblätter:
The air is dry. Because of the lack of oxygen, many students constantly have headaches. Concentration is near zero. How is anyone supposed to get proper grades?“
Parent Frank Klonowska from the town of Lauchhammer says:
It is suffocatingly warm, you can hardly breath. I was completely drenched in sweat after just 3 minutes. It is simply incomprehensible that the technical design of the ventilation system at the SeeCampus even got approved.”
In the end expect hundreds of thousands of euros more to be spent on proper ventilation and climate control, and expect much more than the ballyhooed 15 kwh/m²/year to be consumed. Or, in the worst case, expect the place to be taken over by the weeds soon.