Climate protection in Schools: a prototype for targeted oriented knowledge transfer for students on the basis of energy efficient buildings

The saying "Was Hänschen nicht lernt, lernt Hans nimmermehr." which can be translated with the English saying "You can´t teach an old dog new tricks." especially applies to the issue of "climate protection" in general. Therefore children must be made aware of the importance of the subject from the beginning on in order to live their life efficiently and environmentally friendly. Based on a research and on an evaluation of existing teaching materials teachers and students will develop, how students understand the topic "climate protection" with a focus on "building and living in the future" the easiest way.

Short Description




Starting point/Motivation

The project "Hänschen lernt" developed firstly comprehensive teaching materials with the assistance of pedagogues on the topic of "climate protection" with a focus on "building and housing of the future" for the 1st to the 9th grade. Secondly the project developed a "Climate Olympics" for the 4th classes of elementary and secondary school.

Both measure aim to integrate the topic of climate protection in an intensified way in school, to activate all senses and that pupils get trained for an environmentally friendly life at an early stage. In line with to the program "Building of Tomorrow" the topic of "building and living in the future" was pushed in this project.

In the guidelines of the 3rd tender 2011 of the program "Building of Tomorrow plus" (pdf) it is mentioned on page 7, that the building sector is responsible for a substantial share of energy consumption and CO2 emissions in Austria and in Europe. The building sector thus forms the central starting point for all sustainable energy scenarios and possesses the most realistic potential for significantly increasing energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse emissions in Austria.

The present project "Hänschen lernt" is based on the saying "You can´t teach an old dog new tricks." It is especially of great importance for the topics of "climate protection" and "construction and living of the future" that the issue will be integrated from childhood on into everyday life, so that prospective adults live their life climate-friendly and in an energy-efficient way and that they also exert positive influence on their envi­ronment - parents, friends, acquaintances. It is therefore particularly important that the issue "climate protection" is treated comprehensively and effectively in compulsory education.

Currently existing teaching materials are inadequate, as they often include only part of subjects, are not scientific or target-oriented, but are often company-related and confusing.

Contents and Objectives

The aim of the project was to develop - with the assistance of pedagogues - a template for teaching materials and methods on the topic of "climate protection" with a focus on "building and housing of the future" for the 1st to the 9th grade.

Based on research and on an evaluation of existing teaching materials teachers of the participating schools developed, how pupils understand the subject easiest and how pupils can therefore implement it in practice as a result. During the development of the teaching materials it was tried, that as many school subjects as possible were included in the development of the materials, so that all senses are activated when dealing with the topic.

The second aim of the project was to develop a concept for Austria wide "Climate Olympics", in order to motivate children and young people to a climate-friendly life in their school environment. This concept should form the basis for implementation and active information of the pupils about the topic "climate protection" with a focus on "building and housing of the future". At the same time the social environment of children and young people is included and thus parents and grand­parents can be seen as an indirect target group.


An analysis of existing materials about the topic of "building and housing of the future" was performed by means of an extensive internet and book research. Based on the results of this analysis a summary of the existing materials was generated.

In the next step these materials were assigned to the following six sub-themes.

  • construction
  • electricity and saving electricity
  • renewable energy
  • climate protection / climate change
  • transport and mobility
  • miscellaneous: forest, waste, food, ecological footprint

Out of this allocation a large number of materials was found in the area "miscellaneous: forest, waste, food and ecological footprint" both in textbooks and on the internet. In the attachment a clear classification to the above mentioned areas can be found. Based on the analysis it can be said that a lot of material is available for the various grades, but high quality worksheets don't exist for the topic of "building and housing of the future". Out of this result the first milestone of the project can be derived. In consultation with pedagogues a structure for the teaching materials was developed which is based on the thematic and didactic orientation.

Another focus of the project was the development of Austria wide "Climate Olympics". Based on the results of the analysis a concept was created for the 4th classes of elementary and secondary school. In the style of the existing project "Känguru der Mathematik - Mathematical Kangaroo" a similar Olympics was developed for the topic of the project "climate protection".

Therefore an own Website,, was created where all relevant information can be retrieved by pedagogues.


  • Teaching materials on the topic climate protection with a focus on "building and housing of the future"
  • A concept for Austria wide "Climate Olympics"

The teaching materials on the topic of "building and housing of the future", which were developed by the applicant in cooperation with the involved schools and certified by the Danube University Krems, will be provided to the contracting authority and to the involved educational institutions. The applicant is anxious to disseminate the results of the project as widely as possible. In order to achieve this, various ways of communication are considered. Since the distribution over textbooks has proven difficult, as not every school uses the same books and as the development of books takes a long time, the developed materials will be spread on learning platforms, such as "Moodle". This is not only cheaper but also more efficient. In addition the results can be updated more easily. In a first step the various learning platforms such as or were informed about the project and the results in writing. The second step was to contact the teachers' union and inform it about the project who should then inform the state and district school boards. In addition, a clearly designed information leaflet has been prepared, that should be distributed in all compulsory schools in Austria.

Prospects / Suggestions for future research

In order to reach the ambitious goals concerning the reduction of greenhouse gases or a climate conscious consumption it is absolutely necessary to set obligatory measures. Children and teenagers are an important target group in order to achieve these goals. Therefore motivation, sensitization and information are important cornerstones for this age group in order to achieve long-lasting changes in behaviour.

The global theme of "climate protection" provides - in our view - an enormous potential for the development of further educational materials in particular for the target group of the 6 to 15 years old. Ideas for a follow-up project are the practical implementation of the "Climate Olympics" and the development of additional educational materials, following the already developed structure. The topics of construction, electricity and saving electricity, renewable energy, climate protection / climate change, transport and mobility, miscellaneous: forest, waste, food, footprint would be suited well to develop further materials.

Project Partners

Project management

Sonnenplatz Großschönau GmbH
OSR Josef Bruckner

Project or cooperation partners

  • Donau Universität Krems
  • Department für Bauen und Umwelt

Contact Address

Sonnenplatz Großschönau GmbH
OSR Josef Bruckner
Sonnenplatz 1
3922 Großschönau
Tel.: +43 (2818) 77270-0
Fax: +43 (2818) 77270-40