Sustainable Building Design for a School – Community Center in Rural Nigeria

EPA Grant Number: SU834397
Title: Sustainable Building Design for a School – Community Center in Rural Nigeria
Investigators: Dearborn, Lynne
Current Investigators: Dearborn, Lynne , Adedotun, Adeyeye , Akinlade, Femi , Ayotunde, Balogun , Dada, Folly , Ero-Phillips, Samuel , Georgiadis, John , Lipke, Naomi , Olusegun, Ogunlade , Oriola, Segun , Taylor, Mark , Varad, Alanso
Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Current Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign , Ogun State University
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Phase: I
Project Period: August 15, 2009 through August 14, 2010
Project Amount: $10,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2009) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Awards , Sustainability


Research conducted during Phase 1 will allow our team to analyze the most appropriate methods for collecting and purifying water, protecting buildings from water damage, and irrigation of edible plants and fruit bearing trees. Water collection and purification will be the main objective for Phase 1. We will test and fine-tune a prototype for this part of Nigeria, using the ozonation system for purifying rainwater. A demonstration of the proposed system is necessary in order for the capacity of the system to be tested as well as for the water purity to be assessed. We also will work with the village to consider larger scale implementation of the system and a distribution system for the village. Excessive rainwater runoff could be redirected for use in irrigating edible plants and fruit bearing trees planted around the future site of the primary school. Protecting the structural integrity of adobe brick walls from infiltration of surface water during heavy rainfall is an added benefit for implementing these systems. These measures, when combined, will 1) provide a new source of potable water for the village, 2) reduce rainwater runoff and associated erosion and standing water, 3) help to improve the lifespan of adobe buildings in the village, and 4) help to grow edible crops.


This research will begin by surveying the school site for water drainage patterns and saturation levels of surface water. This will provide an assessment of the best locations for water collection, storage and purification systems. We will then test the nearby soil to ensure adequate bearing capacity for adobe brick construction and for the weight of water storage. Drainage patterns will be used to aid in selecting an appropriate location for landscaping edible plants and fruit bearing trees that will be planted to offset the trees cut down during later building construction. This water collection and purification system, building protection, and irrigation system will be used to demonstrate that potential of these systems to the village. These systems will later be used to improve the microenvironment of the village and to enhance the architecture of the school building using locally sustainable landscaping techniques.

Expected Results:

We expect to find adequate information that will aid in designing a rainwater collection, protection, and irrigation system appropriate for the future school construction. The final design of the school building will develop in a manner that will allow villagers to maintain and repair if needed. Expected benefits of this project include: connecting people through cross-cultural interaction, increasing prosperity through crop cultivation, and protecting the environment by investing in low-tech green infrastructure.

Supplemental Keywords:

water quality, appropriate technology, storm water runoff;

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report