Effective climate protection requires the cooperation of all people, all businesses, and all public institutions including all schools. If the goal of becoming largely climate-neutral by 2050 at the latest – or better already much earlier – is to be achieved, schools must also start to become climate-neutral now. This is an enormous challenge, which will not only involve construction measures, but also changes in behaviour.
Within the project "Schools for Future – Implementing the Joint Task of Climate-Neutral Schools", the researchers want to use the tremendous momentum and the enormous public support to the Fridays for Future movement to tap the substantial CO2 reduction potential encompassing schools. Because of the demonstrations, school authorities are under pressure to act and the student are motivated make their own contribution to achieving the goals by changing their behavior. The project intents to provide scientific support to the implementation process through the transfer of know-how.
In addition, they will analyse the social interactions within the process. Together with the municipalities, teachers, pupils, parents, school premises and other local partners (e.g. energy utilities), schools are to be developed into climate-neutral places of learning. The researchers will teach the respective actors how to determine the CO2 footprint of the school, identify their own climate protection potential and finally realise this potential at their own school premises.
Questions with regard to this context are: What are the main sources of harmful greenhouse gases related to the operation of schools (buildings, commuting by pupils and teachers, catering in the school canteen, school trips, etc.)? What needs to be done in the school buildings in order to save energy? How can renewable sources be used in energy generation (own PV systems)? How can the user behavior be improved (discourage parent taxis and encourage teachers to commute by public transport, etc.)?
Initially, climate-neutral concepts are to be developed in a manageable number of schools and the findings will be disseminated in nationwide workshops. Through the means of crowdfunding (e.g. citizen contracting), the project will eliminate the argument of many school authorities that there is no funding to finance energetic renovation or rooftop solar systems. It is also conceivable to set up student companies to realise school PV systems.
The Wuppertal Institute will focus on the socio-scientific tasks in the overall project, such as actor analysis, networking of actors and peer-to-peer learning. The Wuppertal Institute is also responsible for the overall coordination. Project partner is Büro Ö-quadrat, which is responsible for the conception of CO2-balancing at the schools and for advice on the implementation of the climate protection concepts.
The "Schools for Future" project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi) as part of the 7th Energy Research Programme of the Federal Government.