As schools continue to expand beyond their capacity, the solution has often been to accommodate the overflow of students in a modular classroom outside of the main school building. However, such makeshift settings are often terrible for the planet and for the health of the children in them. The Sprout! Collective is attempting to tackle these issues with the SEED Project: portable classrooms that can be shipped anywhere in the world. Each module is constructed to the specifications of the Living Building Challenge, which requires that a building be sustainable and long-lasting. Each classroom acts as a living laboratory for students to learn about sustainability and interact with their peers using SEED classrooms. SEED designers hope to provoke thought among the students and encourage them to ask: “What would happen if my school was non-toxic, if its energy came from the sun and if I could grow my own food there?”
Traditional portable classrooms suffer from issues of poor air quality and are expected to last well beyond their intended lifespan of ten years. The SEED Project would provide portable classrooms for around or below the same price as a traditional modular building, and each 960 square foot structure would be net-zero with regard to production. Once installed, solar panels provide electricity and rooftop water collection can be used to supply a hand-pump sink and laboratory. Gray water from the building is treated by a living wall that can also produce food.
The SEED classroom comes with a “SEED Packet” which teaches children how to interact with the elements that are built right into the structure. In addition, each classroom can link up with other SEED classrooms using the SEED-patch. “These classrooms will serve as hands-on tools to teach the importance of protecting the environment and creating restorative, resilient buildings,” says Jason F. McLennan, founder of the Living Building Challenge. The first pod will be delivered to a school in Jasper in Alberta Canada in time for use during the 2013-2014 school year.
images courtesy of The Sprout! Collective