Thailand school sees sustainable benefits of bamboo
Photo courtesy of Panyaden International
Brick, concrete or some combination of the two are typically what goes into school structures. Located in northern Thailand, Panyaden International School is unlike most schools.
At this school, earth and bamboo replace typical building materials throughout the campus. Nestled among rice fields 15 minutes from Chiang Maj’s city center, the school teaches young students with diverse backgrounds, reports GreenMatters.
The institution not only works to make sure the students have a strong academic background, but also helps them to lead diverse, multicultural lives. For example, the bilingual curriculum is enriched with teachings about environmental responsibility and Buddhist principles.
“Love Nature,” the school’s motto, is present everywhere. The holistic education aims to not only teach children the standard reading, writing and arithmetic, but also practical skills, like how to grow their food. The school weaves this environmental approach into the fiber of the campus. All the buildings have been able to reduce their carbon footprint by 90 percent with eco-friendly materials.
Apart from sustainable building materials, the electricity use is also minimal since all the rooms are naturally ventilated through their architectural design instead using of air conditioning. This is possible largely due to the warm Thai climate.
The eco-campus also has a biogas plant, wastewater processing system and gardens to teach kids how to grow plants and recycle.
To continue their sustainable mission, the school recently built a large sports hall completely made out of bamboo. Entirely designed to align with the school’s mission and Buddhist principles, the structure's layout was influenced by the lotus flower and created without any toxic materials. Inside the hall, kids can play different sports such as futsal, volleyball, basketball and badminton. Those less athletically inclined can embrace their flair for drama on the stage embedded in the front wall of the open hall.
Balconies flank the expansive floor plan so parents can watch their children as they compete and perform in the arena. While the massive 782-square-meter bamboo structure can hold 300 people, it has a carbon footprint of zero.
The bamboo absorbed carbon faster than any carbon released during the process of treating it with natural Borax salt, transporting it to the campus and construction of the structure. The building can support itself without reinforcements because of how the builders specially wove the bamboo together. For example, this sports hall is expected to last at least 50 years.
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