A 2016 report on Energy and Water Efficiency measures developed to be applied to buildings of the public-school network, as the result of the partnership of Belo Horizonte municipality and the World Bank, pointed out they are supposed to entice an economy equivalent to 48% of expenditures with energy costs. This represents a very substantial economy since 15% of budgetary expenses in the municipality is directed to the maintenance of public schools. The expected economy could be used to the education of about two thousand new students.
Additionally, generation of energy via photovoltaic plants was considered, so chances are that the set of school buildings may produce enough energy not only to meet nowadays needs but also the equivalent to 134% of the present amount of energy demanded – that is more than enough to provide for all other local government office buildings. But how to make this feasible?…
Students working in the Extensionist Program COMPasso developed an analysis framework focused on the energy efficiency of school buildings considering Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE) profiting from the experience of LABCON, the Laboratory of Environmental Comfort and Energy Efficiency of Buildings of the School of Architecture. Public School Herbert J. Souza, the largest municipal school in Belo Horizonte city (about 1,000 students) was chosen as a pilot experience for applying the framework.
In 2019, ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability) an international non-governmental organization that promotes sustainable development, launched the LEDS-Lab Initiative aimed at financing climate actions projects to demonstrate their feasibility and improving the installed capacity of the municipalities in the elaboration of financeable sustainable infrastructure projects. Belo Horizonte submitted this COMPasso´s study under the alias “Solar Schools Project”, as a prototype to be expanded to all other public schools.
Heralding the motto “Energy to Renew Hope for Future Generations”, the project encompassed two mitigation measures and a seven steps implementation plan, considering the technical, financial, and environmental feasibility to result in bigger savings of resources that could be applied to educational activities to conjure a built-up environment more conducive to learning:
• Installation of photovoltaic solar power generation system connected to the utility grid;
• Efficiency considering the exchange of lamps and luminaires to meet the national normative standards, contributing to the success of pedagogical processes, and reduce the consumption of electricity.
Steps 1 and 2 were financed by a seed money, which also served to investigate into financing models to allow for establishing a purchasing policy and applying to financing institutions for both finishing this project as to replicate it to other school buildings, as stated in the report of Technical Inputs.