Turkish primary school wins international award for innovative energy saving project

Today, the International Award of the 2007- 2009 Let’s Save Energy competition was presented to the Odtü Gelistirme Vakfi Özel Ilkögretim Okulu Primary School in Ankara, Turkey.

The school received the award for its project “I Take Responsibility.”The Environment & Innovation Project is run by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) through the Eco-Schools network. It is one of the twenty projects Toyota Motor Europe funds each year through the Toyota Fund for Europe (TFfE).

“I Take Responsibility” enables students to be responsible for the electricity used in their classrooms. Each classroom is fitted with an electricity switch unit which is operated by a card – similar to the ones found in hotel rooms. One student from each class takes responsibility for carrying the card. The “I Take Responsibility” project, and the theme of energy saving, was completely integrated into the curriculum of the entire school and the effects of the project were closely monitored.

The award was handed to the school by Henny C. Kromhout, a member of the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) Executive Board, and Inge Huijbrechts, Manager Corporate Social Responsibility for Toyota Motor Europe. The ceremony was also attended by officials from the Turkish Ministries of Education and the Environment.

“It is exciting to see the attention being given to environmental awareness by students from the school. The project was entirely their idea and I am sure the concept will spark many other innovative environmental ideas,” commented Inge Huijbrechts.FEE ran the Let’s Save Energy competition in six countries: Denmark, Finland, Italy, Norway, Portugal and Turkey. Over 80 schools representing about 20,000 students were involved. Grants were awarded to 28 projects, enabling them to implement their innovative energy saving ideas.

The best national projects were selected in each country in early 2009. The international jury selected the winner of the International Award from these six winning projects. The jury included prominent members of European organisations including the Executive Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation, the British Council, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and CSR Europe.

The project from Ankara was unanimously chosen by the jury because of its innovation, energy efficiency and ability to be copied by other schools across Europe.