We build using the established method of post-and-beam construction. The foundations, columns and beams are made from concrete reinforced with rebar. Unlike cinder-blocks which are not very environmentally responsable, we use eco-bricks in our constructions.
Since October 2009, we have facilitated bottle classroom projects with more than 100 communities in Guatemala and 2 in El Salvador.
Eco-bricks separate our projects from more common, cinder-block constructions. They are created by stuffing inorganic trash like plastic grocery bags or chip wrappers into empty plastic soda bottles. In our projects, they are sandwiched in between two layers of chicken wire and covered with cement to form the filling our bottle classroom walls.
Each bottle classroom needs around 3,500 eco-bricks to build, so whether it be a 2 or 3 bottle classroom construction every project will need the participation of all community members to help create the number of eco-bricks necessary. Their active participation in all parts of the project process works to foster ownership and leave the local kids with the ability to say, ‘I study in a classroom, I helped to build out of trash!
Each bottle classroom project brings together the local community and municipality to create new educational spaces for the future of their community’s children. Partnerships with these entities provide each project with unskilled and skilled labor that allows us to build each bottle classroom for roughly $7,000, which is much cheaper than the more traditional cinder-block construction.