How Independent Schools are Going Green with their Facilities

With student climate strikes a regular occurrence at the moment, schools across the country are realising that sustainable school buildings are the way to students’ hearts.

And there are a large number of schools in the independent sector that have made environmentally friendly features a key part of their builds

.One example of this is St Teresa’s School, an independent boarding and day school in Effingham for girls aged 2-18. The school has undertaken a project, in collaboration with IF_DO and Net Zero Buildings, to “reconnect the primary teaching areas of the site to the natural landscape of the school grounds”.

This included the build of a new sixth form which took advantage of many environmentally friendly features, such as a covered external circulation providing solar shading to the south-facing glazing.

St Teresa’s adopted a fabric-first approach, with high levels of insulation and a heat-recovery ventilation system to minimise heat loss. A PV array covers the roofs of the two blocks, generating sufficient electricity to power the lighting and heating system for the building, as well as feeding back to the rest of the school in summer.

A digital screen in the main entrance tracks the levels of power consumption and generation by the building, providing pupils with a real-life example of energy usage.

Another example is Kelvinside Academy, an independent school in Glasgow for pupils aged 1-18. The school will be the site of Scotland’s School of Innovation, where learning will be focused on real-world challenges and collaborative problem-solving, while also being an open space for scientists, academics, entrepreneurs and roboticists..

Scotland’s School of Innovation will be the country’s first sustainable building designed and constructed using circular and eco-design principles, which are designed to minimise waste and capitalise on resources.

Pupils have even shadowed Balfour Beatty’s construction and design teams to learn about the process.One more example comes from Marymount International School, which uses smart lighting (which adjusts according to natural light levels) in its nature-inspired ‘Garden Rooms’ building.

I think we can all agree that facilities don’t need to just look the part; the environmental impact they are making is just as, or even more, important