La Fondation l’École Verte d’Haïti (Haïti) and the Green School Haiti Association(Netherlands) wish to provide a basic education for about 200 children (age four to seventeen), and also for adults. We would also like this place to act as a pilot project for encouraging consciousness-raising and training insustainable development. The school favors a system of education and training that focuses its mission on the equality of all citizens, equality between men and women, a respect for human rights, especially for the disabled, and a respect for human dignity. Participants will be trained in this approach according to the standards of the Ministry of National Education and Occupational Training.
For this purpose we intend to construct a fully self-sufficient building, in line with the principles of earth houses and permaculture. We plan to use a construction technique that is easy to copy, based on local and/or recycled materials. The creation of an ecological garden will supply the school with vegetables and fruit, and also serve to demonstrate the methods of sustainable farming. Courses will be open to all, without restriction.
- To provide courses in reading and writing, and primary- and secondary-level courses on the new information and communication technologies.
- To provide the local community and national and international visitors with scientific information, technical training, and practical advice in the management of water, electricity, and agriculture, while protecting the environment.
- A joint project with and for the Grand-Goâve Community and the village of Petit Paradis, to create a meeting point promoting ecological construction to suit any budget.
- The project will use locally-available natural and recycled raw materials such as earth, bamboo, tires, glass and plastic bottles, etc.
- The school will produce its own power (solar & wind) and drinking water.
- The school will have a number of gardens based on the permaculture concept.
- The school will handle most of its wastes by recycling graywater (see below) and by composting everything possible.
- The project will provide the children with one hot meal a day.
- The project seeks to provide education concerning the sustainable life-style in general, and is CO2-neutral.
- The project will create jobs through its educational and recreational projects.
The Green School Haiti construction project at Grand-Goâve and Petit Paradis will comply with the academic standards established by the Haitian Ministry of National Education and Occupational Training. It will comprise two main core buildings with ancillaries, located on two different campuses. The primary section will be built on a 2500-m2 property in Grand-Goâve, and the secondary and occupational-training sections will be located on a 1.5-hectare property in Petit Paradis.
- A project request for canteen service will be submitted to the Bureau de Nutrition et Développement, a WFP subsidiary in Haïti. This will enable the students and the personnel to have one hot meal every day.
- Financing will also be provided by donations, activities, and subsidies from the Netherlands Green School Haiti Association, in collaboration with our international partners, especially those in Canada.
Grand-Goâve core primary section
We would like to build an “earth school” comprising nine classrooms,a gallery, an office for the director and his/her deputy, a secretarial office, a waiting room, a bathroom, a teachers’ room, and a records room. In an annex, a pre-school center, a library, a dining hall, a kitchen, toilets for the students, an apartment for the caretaker, and a store. The school will have its own basketball and volleyball courts and a play area. The garden (permaculture) will also be located in the annex.
Petit Paradis core secondary and occupational-training section
“Earth school” comprising ten classrooms, a computer laboratory, a physical-science laboratory, a library, and a gallery. The administration area consists of an office for the director and his/her deputy, a secretarial office, a waiting room, bathrooms, and a room for teachers and records. An annex will contain a cafeteria, toilets for the students, a caretaker’s apartment, a sickroom, and a covered playground for games: soccer, basketball, and volleyball. The garden (permaculture) will also be located in the annex. In addition the project will have an information center for visitors interested in model constructions made from earth and/or similar materials. The information center will be constructed in the same manner as the school. Some of the information center’s services could be for-profit.
This method of construction is fairly new to Haiti, but has been studied and tried in other countries under identical or similar natural conditions. We will be pleased to answer any technical questions about construction and safety, based on several years of research and experience in constructing and living in such buildings. For additional information on the construction method and the techniques employed in earth houses, see the architect Michael Reynolds’ website: http://earthship.com/buildings/global Summary – how the building works:
- Very low energy consumption
Solar panels will supply the school and ancillaries with electricity. Small wind turbines could be added. For cooking meals the kitchen will usepyrolytic stoves made in Haiti.
Self-sufficient in water and water-purification
Earth houses are designed to have minimal environmental impact. In addition to producing no CO2 they are fully self-sufficient as regards the supply and purification of rainwater. The water is collected on the roof, and then passes into a filtering system to be purified for consumption. Finally, it is stored in a tank. After that a pump and another internal filter connected to the garden ensure that dirty water is filtered for reuse in a so-called graywater system. Water for drinking only is passed through a helophyte filter. The latest research shows that the quality of this water is equivalent to or even better than that of “city” water.
Independent sewage system
Compost latrines will be provided to eliminate the need for connection to a sewage system. Soil fertility will thereby be greatly improved, without recourse to chemical fertilizers brought in from outside.
The costs of earth houses are substantially lower than those of conventional dwellings. These constructions, based on sustainable-development principles, are affordable for all. The costs are low for three reasons: – Reuse of materials: The walls are constructed from old tires crammed with compacted earth. The walls are then filled in with empty plastic and/or glass bottles, tin cans, and other reusable non-biologic materials. Other construction materials can be obtained from demolition firms. – Employment of available local materials: The other construction materials will as far as possible be obtained locally, for example earth for building and finishing the walls. – Involvement of volunteers: Previous experience in constructing earth dwellings has shown that they arouse a lot of interest which attracts a crowd of local, national, and international volunteers. This keeps the cost of labor to a minimum. Such people are keen to learn about the construction process so as to build houses for themselves. Some countries even ask for a financial contribution for taking part in these “construction internships”.
Excellent energy conservation
With assistance from, among others, the Dutch Ministry of Housing, Regional Development, and the Environment (VROM), the Dutch Institute for Biologic and Ecologic Construction (NIBE) has used the GreenCalc program to evaluate earth dwellings. This program measures a building’s impact on the environment. Its conclusion is that an earth house has only one ninth of the environmental impact of others. To date, this is the highest score ever awarded to a construction technique.
Blends into the landscape
Earth dwellings harmonize perfectly with the landscape, on account of their natural local materials and overall organic shape.