Zayed Sustainability Prize is an inspiring global platform to prepare future sustainability leaders and motivate future generations to adopt a responsible and sustainable lifestyle. Winners will be announced tomorrow during the Prize’s Awards Ceremony, held at EXPO 2020 Dubai as part of the 2022 Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW).
In the following report, the Emirates News Agency (WAM) reviews the efforts of the Zayed Sustainability Prize, which was established in 2008, to motivate the younger generations to enrol in it through the “Prize’s Global High Schools” category.
The report will also highlight the candidates’ projects who presented a set of valuable innovations that employ modern technology to achieve the highest standards of sustainability while developing educational methods to become familiar with the climate change issues and sustainable development in a more comprehensive way.
Since 2012, the Zayed Sustainability Prize has recognised youth as a driving force for future sustainable development. By awarding innovative sustainability projects developed by high school students worldwide, the Prize has been empowering students to reach their full potential and inspiring next generations to be responsible, sustainable citizens.
This category awards six high schools from six world regions that can demonstrate a project plan that will deliver impact, innovation, and inspiration to their school and/or local community up to US$100,000.
Schools must propose projects to be implemented within 12-24 months of receiving the Prize, with tangible outcomes in sustainable health, food, energy, and water while delivering positive and tangible impact. The category’s six world regions include The Americas, Europe & Central Asia, the Middle East & North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and East Asia & Pacific.
The Prize also recognises small to medium enterprises and non-profit organisations that are pioneering solutions and technologies aimed at increasing access to clean water, improving healthcare and facilitating clean energy, sustainable agriculture, education, and better public services and infrastructure, amongst others.
A total of 41 winners from the Global High School category have delivered projects that have gone on to enhance learning opportunities for as many as 7,000 students and cultivate future generations of sustainability leaders.
Winners from the Global High Schools’ projects have installed 500 kilowatts of solar panels, generated 7 million kilowatt-hours of electricity, and prevented 5,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. These renewable energy and sustainability projects have positively impacted approximately 425,170 people connected to participating schools and their surrounding communities.
The Prize’s 2022 Global High School Finalists – Presenting a new round of sustainability pioneers, setting their sights on transformation and environmental impact and education On 28th September 2021, the Zayed Sustainability Prize’s 2022 finalists were announced following the Jury deliberation meeting to elect winners for its current 2022 cycle. During the Prize’s Awards Ceremony on 17th January, 2022, winners will be announced at Expo 2020 Dubai.
The list of nominees from the Americas includes Iniciativas Ecológicas, Venezuela: Greenhouse and Fish Tank Project. Iniciativas Ecológicas is a private school for children with autism, established in 2005 and located in Maiquetía, Venezuela. They focus on engaging students in nature-based, hands-on, experiential learning opportunities, taking advantage of the unique nearby ecosystems of the coastal mountain range.
Students have proposed a project to construct a solar power plant for the school and a greenhouse that combines fish farming with vertical agriculture. The greenhouse system would feed trout with fish feed made from food waste. The uneaten feed would pass through a biofilter, creating fertiliser for the crops growing in the vertical agriculture part of the system. The translucent greenhouse would also serve as a solar dryer to dry and process coffee beans.
This system would allow the school to grow crops all year round, thereby increasing plant production by ten times while using 95 percent less water than conventional crop systems, resulting in water savings of 2.5 million litres per year, annual output of 79,440 kilograms of organic vegetables and 2,880 units of organic trout. The installed solar system would generate 2,277,600 kilowatts of clean electricity each year, or enough to power the entire school.
The vertical farming prototypes the school will develop would then be applied across 2,000 home gardens in the community, extending the project’s benefits to at least 10,000 people.
The list also includes Instituto Iberia – Dominican Republic: Biodiesel-fueled Generator. Instituto Iberia is a private school established in 1941 and located in Santiago, Dominican Republic. It aims to train and develop ethical and competent individuals in a globalised context where diversity is respected, cultural differences are welcomed, and sustainable solutions are built.
The students at Instituto Iberia have proposed a project to convert the school’s used cooking oil into biodiesel to power the school generator, decreasing the negative impact of used oil on the community health, as currently, the oil is sent to the landfill in metal tanks which damages the environment.
In five years, the project envisions impacting 10,000 students in the Santiago area. One thousand students from Instituto Iberia and 9,000 students from other schools will receive educational talks from Instituto Iberia students. This will pave the way for academic and social awareness opportunities with other schools in Santiago, extending the benefits of this project to potentially 19,000 students over the next 25 years.
In Europe & Central Asia, the list includes JU Gimnazija “Bihać”, Bosnia and Herzegovina: Self-Sustaining Energy, Heat and Garden.
JU Gimnazija “Bihać” is a public school in Bosnia and Herzegovina founded in 1911. The school enjoys a one-hundred-year tradition of promoting innovation and creativity and tolerance, and a sense of community.
Students have submitted a project that includes developing a permaculture garden, installing a new air-to-water heat pump system, and a solar panel system to provide the school with clean energy.
The Prize also nominated Liceo Europeo, Spain: LivingEnergy. Established in 1971, Liceo Europeo is a private school located in the Spanish capital, Madrid. At its core, Liceo Europeo is committed to engaging its students in reflective thinking and learning and is a staunch advocate for the environment.
Students at Liceo Europeo submitted a project called “LivingEnergy,” which aims to develop a scalable technology capable of converting waste into electricity using microorganisms. Their solution would produce clean energy affordably while also helping to reduce waste in their local community. Their approach is based on a technology known as microbial fuel cells.
Liceo Europeo students have developed a new design to make this technology scalable using discarded facemasks from which microorganisms can degrade and produce electricity. This is in light of facemasks becoming commonplace place worldwide due to the ongoing global pandemic.
The list also includes Romain Rolland Gymnasium, Germany: Solar Energy Storage.
Founded in 1994, Romain Rolland Gymnasium is a public high school in Berlin, Germany, and is one of the largest high schools in the borough of Reinickendorf, which boasts a solid natural sciences and sustainability focus.
The students of Romain Rolland Gymnasium submitted a project that involves powering the school’s campus with a student-designed solar cell that utilises electrolysis driven by sunlight to store energy more efficiently. The innovative, hydrogen-based solar cells will increase the school’s renewable energy proportion by 8 percent.
The Middle East & North Africa candidate is Eastern Mediterranean International School, Israel: Water from Air Project.
The students at Eastern Mediterranean International School are looking to integrate the school’s Condensation Unit and Organic Rankine Cycle (a thermal power system) into one system powered by a solar battery, which will increase their energy efficiency and water production. It aims to convert water from the air into clean, drinkable water using the Condensation Unit and then capture and convert the produced heat into electrical energy, which will be used to power the whole system.
The existing device produces 100 litres of water per day, which generates around 2.7 kilowatts of thermal power. In contrast, the envisioned more extensive system would produce 1,000 litres of water per day and generate 27 kilowatts of thermal power.
Once implemented, the project will enhance students’ understanding of the physics and complexities behind an integrated renewable energy-powered water producing system, which could help them bring solutions like this to the market.
The list also includes Gifted Students School – Nineveh, Iraq: Calm Green Project.
Located in Mosul, Iraq, the Gifted Students School – Nineveh is a private school established in 2007. The school is in one of the provinces severely destroyed after the war with Daesh, so the school is continuously looking for ways to inspire the wider community to restore everyday life and build a more sustainable land for future generations.
The students at Gifted Students School – Nineveh have proposed a project called “Calm Green” to design a garden and solar energy system to help reduce the school’s carbon emissions, mitigate climate change, and improve students’ mental health.
Umm Al Arab School, UAE: Green Numbers Project is also on the list. It is a public girl’s school in Abu Dhabi, UAE, established in 2015.
Its students have proposed a sustainability project called “Green Numbers,” which includes three components: a solar-powered chiller that would reduce the school’s energy consumption by 15 to 20 percent; an organic and hydroponic greenhouse system that produces 110,000 kilograms of food per year; and a renewable energy-powered water generator that converts humidity from the air into usable water, producing up to 600 litres of water per day, to irrigate the plants in the school’s greenhouse.
The list involves Daddies Firm Foundation School – Ghana: Sustainable School Farm from Sub-Saharan Africa.
Daddies Firm Foundation School is a private school founded in 2008 and located in Cape Coast, Ghana. The school’s proposed sustainability project is an innovative and unique school farm that consists of poultry, fish farming and a garden. Some of the food produced from the school farm will be sold to support financially disadvantaged students with school tuition fees.
Solar panels will be installed to generate clean energy for pumping water from the school’s borehole to irrigate the school farmland so that vegetables and crops can be planted all year round. The irrigated water will also support aquatic life in fishponds, and rainfall harvesting technology will be implemented to harvest and store rainwater for use at the school farm. The proceeds from the farm would also be used to prepare nutritious meals for students.
Lighthouse Primary and Secondary School, Mauritius: Energy Efficiency Upgrades is also on the list. It is a private school established in 2009 in Calebasses, Mauritius. It places importance on creating a school campus that serves as a place of renewal that will provide young people with a stimulating, entrepreneurial, and sustainable environment in which to develop and learn by example.
The Lighthouse School project aims to make the school significantly more environmentally friendly and self-sufficient to install a 20-kilowatt solar panel system on its roof to power the school entirely with solar. It will also build a fruit and vegetable garden to produce healthy food that will be served to students for their meals, and the gardens, and an accompanying nature centre will be used to educate students about plant biology, plant conservation and the basic skills of growing, treating and harvesting crops.
Excess electricity produced by the school’s solar panels will be sold back to the national grid, and the surplus food grown in their farm will be sold at the school farmers’ market.
In South Asia, Hira School, Maldives: Sustainable Rainwater Harvesting was nominated. It is a private school established in 2010 and located in Addu City, Maldives.
Students have proposed a project that would support a sustainable water management system for their school. Their project aims to harvest rainwater for the whole year during the monsoon season, which it would then treat, use, and store for school operations.
The list also has Kopila Valley School, Nepal: Sustainable Rainwater Harvesting, which is a private, non-profit school established in 2010 in Surkhet, Nepal.
The students proposed a community rainwater harvesting system that would bolster the region’s water security sustainably and plan to construct low-cost rainwater collection systems to be placed on homes in the school’s neighbourhood.
Mankuwari Hansa Higher Secondary School, India: Sustainability by Community Engagement is one of the candidates as well. It is a non-profit, private educational society established in 1980 in Barela, India.
The project by students is called “Sustainability Community Engagement” and aims to enhance students’ education by training teachers, improving digital learning opportunities and providing healthy food to over 5,000 students.
In East Asia & Pacific, Bohol Wisdom School – Philippines: Water Quality Monitoring was nominated. It is a private school established in 1930 in the Bohol province in the Philippines.
The students are proposing a three-in-one project that would support more sustainable aquaculture activities to boost fish farming and preserve water quality.
Shanghai World Foreign Language Academy – China: Zayed Sustainability Garden The Shanghai World Foreign Language Academy is a private school established in 1996 in Shanghai, China. Its vision is to educate the modern Chinese to contribute to the world. The school has earned international recognition for its top academics, quality teachers and student achievements.
The project, called the “Zayed Sustainable Garden,” aims to develop an ecosystem that is 100 percent self-sufficient. Students will build greenhouses with aquarium tanks, install solar panel systems, create a sustainable garden, and install waste processing units.
The list also includes UWC ISAK Japan – Japan: Sustainability School Upgrades (Fully green School) The students have proposed a project to make the school ‘fully green’ while educating the local community about sustainability. The students predict that their energy efficiency projects will lead to a 25 percent reduction in carbon emissions and a 30 percent reduction in burnable trash. Additionally, it will produce a healthy, reliable food source and increase awareness of sustainability in their local area.
Overall, the project is expected to impact 3,830 people from various schools. This includes 200 students and 70 faculty members directly involved in the school’s institutional change; the remaining 3,560 people will benefit by promoting UWC ISAK Japan as a role model for sustainable transformation.