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Documentary to chronicle 'green' rebirth of flood-ravaged school

2012/04/20 22:57:33

Taipei, April 20 (CNA) A documentary set to premiere on Earth Day will bring attention to a flood-ravaged school in a remote part of Taiwan that has been reborn as a model of green architecture.

The documentary, produced by the National Geographic Channel, follows a Taiwanese team of architects, engineers and construction workers as they rebuild an elementary school in southern Taiwan destroyed by a devastating typhoon that triggered massive flooding in 2009.

"Typhoon Morakot was a natural disaster, but it also gave us an opportunity to re-examine our relationship with nature," said Joanne Tsai, the general manager of the TV channel for Taiwan and China, at a screening of the film in Taipei Friday.

One of the highlights of the school is a 660 square-meter green library that is built with local timber, uses LED lighting and has diffusive glass and reflective panels installed to enable more natural light to reach the interior of the building.

Six large wind turbines built on the school's grounds, each as high as a four-story building, and 84 solar panels on the school's roof with a nominal generating capacity of 29 KW (kilowatts) will help the school in Kaohsiung's Namasia District conserve energy.

Bruce Cheng, chairman of the Delta Electronics Foundation that helped build the school, estimated that the various design features will be able to reduce power consumption by 65 percent and help the school save NT$250,000 (US$8,474) in electricity costs each year.

The school is also comprised of a two-story classroom building and a dormitory for teachers that can serve as a shelter for up to 300 nearby residents if a natural disaster occurs in the area, according to chief architect Kuo Ying-chao.

"Namasia's Ming Chuan Elementary School will become Taiwan's first eco elementary school, representing the advent of a universal value," said Jheng Sin-huei, director-general of the Education Bureau in Kaohsiung.

"The school has brought hope to children in mountain areas, and more importantly it has shined light on the future of education in indigenous villages."

Namasia District is composed predominantly of indigenous people.

The documentary, titled "Megastructures: Eco School," is scheduled to premiere on National Geographic Channel on Earth Day, April 22.

(By Christie Chen)