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New UK schools to be zero-carbon by 2016
Detail: In a multi-million pound drive to reduce carbon emissions all new school buildings in UK is envisaged to be zero-carbon by 2016. Children's Secretary, Ed Balls, has said that if the target were not met it would be a dereliction of duty. 200 energy-saving projects, that will cost about £110m over the next three years, has been outlined to work towards this zero-carbon goal.

A typical secondary school will receive about £500,000 under this plan to reduce carbon emissions in new school buildings. Efficiency measures include using low-power computers, energy-saving lighting and better insulation. Renewable energy sources include biomass-fueled boilers and large wind turbines. Solar energy is to be harnessed to heat water and provide electricity.

Noted architect Robin Nicholson has been appointed as chair of the government’s Zero Carbon Task Force, which will advise ministers on how to build greener schools. Nicholson, a former vice-president of the Royal Institute of British Architects, admitted the task force did not have a straightforward job. But he added if there is one sector that must show the way then it should be schools.

Kingsmead primary in Northwich, Cheshire is a school already monitoring its carbon footprint. The project is being used as a learning tool for pupils to understand more about the environment. The school has active voltage displays for the solar panels and an electronic meter that shows how much rainwater is collected by its inverted roof. It has also installed a system (run on renewable energy) that automatically opens and shuts the windows, skylights and blinds, allowing fresh air to flow through the building and shading pupils where necessary.
Source: “Ambitious plan for new zero-carbon schools” by By Shafik Meghji, Children & Young People Now, 16 June 2008; and “All new schools to be zero-carbon by 2016” in Monday December 17, 2007
Date: June 17 2008