Ferdinand-Porsche-Gymnasium



School:Ferdinand-Porsche-Gymnasium in Stuttgart
Products:Green Slim Series

Project launch in Stuttgart
Ferdinand-Porsche-Gymnasium becomes a "Mercury-Free School"

Stuttgart — Climate protection and environmental awareness have long been a priority at the Ferdinand-Porsche-Gymnasium in the Zuffenhausen district of Stuttgart. The high school, which has around 800 students, operates several solar power systems which cover a quarter of its electricity needs. It is also able to boast that it is an "energy-saving champion", having won the "Energiesparmeister" competition five years ago. Now the grammar school is participating in the "Mercury-Free School" project developed by CASIO. "At the Ferdinand-Porsche-Gymnasium, environmental awareness is not just a claim, it is a reality. That is why we have chosen this school to be the first in Germany to participate in our 'Mercury-Free School' project", said Günter Grefen, General Division Manager Professional Visual Products and Office & School Equipment at CASIO, at the project launch on 6 June.
Ferdinand-Porsche-Gymnasium
Silvia Fischer, Councillor for the German Green party, Günter Grefen from CASIO, Carmen Nasse, head teacher and Dieter Bareis, teacher and Environmental Officer at the Ferdinand-Porsche-Gymnasium (from left to right) at the handover of the projectors for the launch of the "Mercury-Free School" project.

The Japanese company CASIO, which is known by many students for its calculators, also manufactures projectors that equip many classrooms worldwide. This includes those at the Ferdinand-Porsche-Gymnasium, where more than 30 classrooms feature CASIO projectors. Thanks to a special technology, these are able to function without the mercury-vapour lamps commonly used for projectors. Instead, they use a hybrid light source that combines LED and laser, which generates a luminance of up to 3500 lumens and is very durable and especially environmentally friendly.

For head teacher Carmen Nasse, these projectors impress not only in terms of their environmental friendliness by not using mercury, a highly toxic heavy metal, but also in terms of the minimal maintenance required by the devices. "These projectors are a bit more expensive to purchase, but you do not need replacement lamps", says the head teacher. "In addition, they are very easy to use and warm up quickly. We need this functionality in classrooms." The fact that the power consumption of the CASIO projectors is up to 40% lower than for models with mercury-vapour lamps is another benefit. "Our decision to opt for CASIO projectors was based on careful calculations", says Carmen Nasse.

As a Japanese company, CASIO takes the "Minamata Convention" particularly seriously. Drawn up by the United Nations, the convention aims to prevent or at least minimise the release of mercury. "The environmental disaster at Minamata is firmly anchored in Japan's collective memory", says Günter Grefen. In 1957, large amounts of mercury entered the sea near the coastal city of Minamata. Several thousand Japanese people became severely ill after eating fish contaminated with the heavy metal, and many even died as a result. 128 states have signed the Minamata Convention, with 91 having ratified it to date. Germany ratified it in September 2017, and in December 2017 the Convention came into force in Germany. From 2020, the production and trade of many products containing mercury will no longer be permitted.

The grammar school in Zuffenhausen is now being gradually renovated floor by floor, for example with new windows being fitted and the ceiling lights being replaced. While this is happening, the classes of students aged 15 and 16 are having to move into temporary buildings. So that the students can continue to benefit from visual aids during the renovation, which will take several years, CASIO has donated four mobile projectors from the Green Slim series to the school for use in the temporary buildings. This donation forms part of the company's "Mercury-Free School" project. Günter Grefen from CASIO Europe travelled from the company's headquarters in Norderstedt to hand over the devices in person: "It is very important that we raise awareness among students of the danger of mercury", he said at the launch of the project.

Zuffenhausen's Councillor Silvia Fischer, a member of the German Green party, and Bernd Volkert from the office of Franz Untersteller, the Baden-Württemberg Environment Minister, also attended the project launch and the handover of the CASIO mobile projectors. At the event, they were introduced to the Ferdinand-Porsche-Gymnasium's environmentally friendly and energy-saving technology. "It makes sense", said Silvia Fischer. Students will be taught more about the topic of mercury in the coming weeks during specially developed lessons. A number of teachers at the school have put together cross-disciplinary teaching content that addresses the role of mercury in medicine, energy generation and the environment. At the school fair, which takes place shortly before the summer holidays, the results of the lessons will be presented to parents, students and other visitors. The "Mercury-Free School" commendation will also be awarded at the event.

Students share their knowledge about mercury
School's outstanding commitment applauded

Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen, Germany – At the Ferdinand-Porsche-Gymnasium's (FPG) annual school fair, the largest crowd of people could be found at the desk where the yearbooks were being sold. All of the school's classes are detailed in the yearbook, as well as any special student activities. For example, this year's edition mentions the exhibition held on the subject of "climate", including a report on the "Mercury-Free School" project. The FPG was the first German school to take part in the project, which is backed by CASIO. Together with some biology students from the years above, the students from class 9c worked on an exhibit tackling the subject of mercury, presenting it for the first time at the school fair. Topics featured in the exhibit include how mercury is used in gold mining, what makes mercury so toxic and how to dispose of energy-saving lamps that contain mercury. The students also focussed on the environmental disaster in the Japanese coastal town of Minamata, where during the 1950s the dumping of mercury in the sea led to fish being poisoned, with humans consequently suffering the effects via the food chain. The FPG students were especially appalled to learn that people in the Philippines are exposed to highly toxic mercury vapours as a result of gold mining, with children the worst affected.

The students researched the subject for several weeks during their science and technology lessons with Mr Bareis and during biology with Ms Beyer before displaying their results of their work on posters and giving short presentations. Günter Grefen from CASIO was also at the presentation. As a Japanese company, the issue of reducing mercury usage is of particular importance for CASIO, and Grefen, General Division Manager for the company's Professional Visual Products and Office & School Equipment department, has long known just how dangerous this highly toxic heavy metal can be. "But even I learned something new about mercury today", said Grefen, who seemed impressed during the FPG school fair and expressed his appreciation to the students. Head teacher Carmen Nasse was also at the present for the presentations and offered the students some very high praise: "You did an excellent job!"

Since 2010, CASIO projectors have no longer featured lamps that contain mercury. Instead, their light comes from a hybrid light source that combines LED and laser technology, generating a luminance of up to 3500 lumens. The FPG has been using more than 30 of these mercury-free projectors for many years. CASIO recently delivered an additional four mobile projectors to the school as part of the "Mercury-Free School" project. This means that modern presentation equipment can be used in the temporary classrooms while the school is undergoing refurbishment. "The Ferdinand-Porsche-Gymnasium made a really strong impression on me—particularly its photovoltaic panels on the roof and its outstanding level of commitment to climate protection and sustainability", said Günter at the school fair, where he presented head teacher Carmen Nasse with a certificate from CASIO attesting to FPG's participation in the "Mercury-Free School" project.