Backsippans Preschool

  • About the project

    Ronneby municipality builds healthy preschoolsinspired 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® elementsThe examples here are from Backsippans preschool in Listerby -Sweden's healthiest preschoolAt 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 processthe 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.


    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 hasreceived 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 leavetheir comments so that eg functional requirements became clearCefur Showroomserved 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-upThis was the basis for a comprehensive tender request documentLater, even the contractors and subcontractors where trained inCradle to Cradle®.


    Healthy Materials: The construction process was based on a collaboration withSundaHus 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 purchasedThis facilitatedconscious healthy choices and the knowledge about each screw is stored for furthermanagement

    To purchase new toys there is a direct collaboration with suppliers, where focus is oncode of conduct for sustainable procurement and environmental management.Furthermore, the staff cleaned out all the material that may contain toxins inplayroomsie they have thrown away all old and soft plastic toys and electronics thathave been used for play.

    Flexibility: The construction design was done in 3-D for more efficient planning, which reduces errors and wasting materialsThe design is simple and flexible, whichwill facilitate redevelopment for future needs, such as for schools or officesThere isa smart tag system, ie to the dining room can be used by associations in the evenings and weekendswithout the preschool playrooms being accessible.

    Good indoor environmentLED lighting instead of CFLs reduces power consumption. Energy efficiency is a step on the path to achieve the Cradle to Cradle® target to use onlyrenewable energy. There are motion detectors forlightingand 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 contentie ventilation is increased when manypeople are in a room. Specially designed carpetsare in all the playrooms. The carpets capture fine particles from the air and binds them untilvacuumingInhaling particles can be unhealthy.The carpets are also great for lowering sound and reducing noiseThere are even  sound-absorbers on the ceiling and wallsIn 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 ozoneon different occasions.

    Energy: All energy for electricity comes from hydropower, wind farms and directlyfrom solar panels on the roof of the preschool. The photovoltaic system consists of 80 modules with an output of about 20 kWThe annual production is estimated atabout 18,500 kWh / yearThe heat source is a geothermal heat pump that suppliesall the heating in the building, mainly through floorheating systems. In summary, there is a reduction in energy consumption by the air quality-controlled ventilationand 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 buildingcreates room between outside and inside. This means that it creates shade in summer whilstallowing the sun to enter during the winter, and it protects from cold winds and rain. The smallest children can sleep outside on a sheltered terraceunder the large roof overhang. The building isdesigned and prepared for the recycling ofbuilding materials by registering information in the materials database from SundaHus i Linköping AB.

    Outdoor environment

    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 environmentThis 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 cookingwith produce from their own garden.

    Outdoor Activities: There is an existing forest right by the preschool, therefore a part of the forest is now fenced in so that children can playthere with the opportunity to build huts, studyinginsects, bird watching and moreOver time, they can even harvest from planter boxes and learn more about compostThere is also a bike path, a stage, playground, sledding hill and more. 
    Everyday variationThe preschool has two largeglass-enclosed patioswhere the smallest children can sleep outsideAdjacent to the dining room is also a large terrace for outdoor dining.High school students from the Handicraft programme at Knut Hahn Highschool built birdhouses and a barbecue hut. This givesthe students a real project and the chance tolearn how to build with safe materials andaccording to the Cradle to Cradle®The barbecue hut at Backsippans preschool will be constructed on site in the autumn of 2014 - this way even the preschool children can take part in the construction process in the forest.

    Rebecka Hovenberg from SundaHus i Linköping AB held a presentation in Ronnebywith 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 

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