Ronneby municipality builds healthy preschools, inspired by Cradle to Cradle®. The concept of Cradle to Cradle® is about quality and innovation. It's main focus is striving for a large positive impact. All new construction is planned with Cradle to Cradle® elements. The examples here are from Backsippans preschool in Listerby - Sweden's healthiest preschool. At the bottom is a youtube clip (in Swedish) from the theme night that dealt with non-toxic preschools, with information from the inventory at the old preschool as well as tips for measures by SundaHus i Linköping AB.
The following briefly describes the process, the building and the outdoor environment - and how all of this has been inspired by Cradle to Cradle®. Buildings and products inspired by Cradle to Cradle® are a step towards a healthy and sustainable environment.
A child's drawing on the wishes of the new preschool, as well as explanation by the staff.
Activities have been carried out to get stakeholders involved in the process from the very beginning. The children drew pictures of how they wanted their new preschool and parents have had a chance to express their thoughts and wishes. The staff has received training on Cradle to Cradle® and they where glad to be involved in the whole process. Even the facility managers were involved, and everyone got to leave their comments so that eg functional requirements became clear. Cefur Showroom served as a venue for the ongoing stakeholder dialogue. All requests and demands were summarized in a document with Cradle to Cradle objectives that are measurable and easy to follow-up. This was the basis for a comprehensive tender request document. Later, even the contractors and subcontractors where trained in Cradle to Cradle®.
Sketch of new preschool Backsippan in Listerby.
Healthy Materials: The construction process was based on a collaboration with SundaHus i Linköping AB and their materials database to ensure that all construction materials were known and as free from toxic substances as possible. All materials have been evaluated by chemists before there were purchased. This facilitated conscious healthy choices and the knowledge about each screw is stored for further management.
To purchase new toys there is a direct collaboration with suppliers, where focus is on code of conduct for sustainable procurement and environmental management. Furthermore, the staff cleaned out all the material that may contain toxins in playrooms, ie they have thrown away all old and soft plastic toys and electronics that have been used for play.
Flexibility: The construction design was done in 3-D for more efficient planning, which reduces errors and wasting materials. The design is simple and flexible, which will facilitate redevelopment for future needs, such as for schools or offices. There is a smart tag system, ie to the dining room can be used by associations in the evenings and weekends, without the preschool playrooms being accessible.
Good indoor environment: LED lighting instead of CFLs reduces power consumption. Energy efficiency is a step on the path to achieve the Cradle to Cradle® target to use only renewable energy. There are motion detectors for lighting, and the light dimmer can be adjusted when needed. In addition, there are large windows that allow a lot of daylight. Those can also be opened to let in fresh air and ventilate - simply natural ventilation. Additionally the ventilation is controlled automatically according to air quality by measuring the carbon dioxide content, ie ventilation is increased when many people are in a room. Specially designed carpets are in all the playrooms. The carpets capture fine particles from the air and binds them until vacuuming. Inhaling particles can be unhealthy. The carpets are also great for lowering sound and reducing noise. There are even sound-absorbers on the ceiling and walls. In addition, many rooms have linoleum flooring made from all-natural materials that do not emit hazardous chemicals. A study is planned, which will include the measurement of air quality (e.g. CO2, formaldehyde, VOCs, particulates, and ozone) on different occasions.
Energy: All energy for electricity comes from hydropower, wind farms and directly from solar panels on the roof of the preschool. The photovoltaic system consists of 80 modules with an output of about 20 kW. The annual production is estimated at about 18,500 kWh / year. The heat source is a geothermal heat pump that supplies all the heating in the building, mainly through floorheating systems. In summary, there is a reduction in energy consumption by the air quality-controlled ventilation and lighting adjusted to motion detectors and daylight, good insulation and heat recovery.
Smart Synergies: Warm water is generated by recovering heat from the kitchens fridge- and freezer-rooms. A roof overhang of 2 meters around the building creates room between outside and inside. This means that it creates shade in summer whilst allowing the sun to enter during the winter, and it protects from cold winds and rain. The smallest children can sleep outside on a sheltered terrace under the large roof overhang. The building is designed and prepared for the recycling of building materials by registering information in the materials database from SundaHus i Linköping AB.
Outdoor environment with the forest in the background and the kids scene at the inauguration of Backsippans preschool in 2014.
In collaboration with the children, staff, and facility managers the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) developed focus areas for the outdoor environment. This is a long term project and play areas and the forest will change over time.
Increased biodiversity: Collaboration with the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) aims to enhance biodiversity in the local environment. This means that it was decided to plant fruit trees and berry bushes, as well as planters and a compost. Additionally it was decided to maintain the existing forest, and it is improved by new plantings and bird feeders to increase the number of bird species. The childrens wish to be able to play with the branches and build huts has been met. Food from the garden: Fruit trees were already in place in the old garden around the preschool and the apple trees are now supplemented by several new plum trees, and other trees and bushes with edible fruits. Vegetables and spices may also be grown in the planter boxes soon. In that way the kids also learn more about cooking with produce from their own garden.
Kids playing in the forest.
To book a study visits please contact Cefur.
Film (in Swedish) from the theme evening which was about non-toxic preschools.
Rebecka Hovenberg from SundaHus i Linköping AB held a presentation in Ronneby with the theme of non-toxic preschools:
• Why is it important to have a non-toxic preschool?
• What should you consider?
• Results from the inventory of toys and more at the preschool Backsippan
Part 1 includes an introduction of chemicals, and Part 2 contains the results of the inventory at the preschool (Kuggeboda) in Ronneby.