'Green' school ready to open

ONE of the country's "greenest" schools is ready to open its doors to pupils next month.The new energy-efficient Beaumont Primary School at Hadleigh - built at a cost of £2 million - includes a wind turbine, solar panels, a grass roof and insulation made from recycled paper.

By David Green

ONE of the country's "greenest" schools is ready to open its doors to pupils next month.

The new energy-efficient Beaumont Primary School at Hadleigh - built at a cost of £2 million - includes a wind turbine, solar panels, a grass roof and insulation made from recycled paper.

It is claimed to be the greenest school so far built in Suffolk, possibly East Anglia, and offers a glimpse of what is likely to become "standard" in future building design.


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Other schools in the county have some of the "green" features but it is the first time all of them have been used in one building.

The wind turbine, erected in the school grounds, will produce enough electricity to run all of the school's computers while solar panels installed in part of the roof will light two classrooms and heat water – for sinks and radiators.

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Both the turbine and the solar panels will operate all-year round and excess electricity, albeit in tiny amounts, will be sold to the national grid.

Ceilings have been sloped to accommodate high-level windows, providing a good supply of natural light as well as ventilation.

Turf has been used to cover part of the roof – to keep the building cool in summer and warm in winter while also doubling as a wildlife habitat – for use by birds and insects.

Rainwater will be collected in tanks and recycled to flush toilets while the building's insulation has been manufactured using recycled paper.

A bike storage area has been provided to encourage pupils to cycle to school rather than arrive in parents' cars which not only cause congestion and danger but emit pollution.

Information on how much water and electricity is being used in the school will be monitored electronically and figures displayed on a touch-sensitive screen in the foyer – so staff and children can keep an eye on consumption.

The building, including four classrooms, a library, computer room, hall and kitchen, has been designed by Suffolk County Council's own architects with advice from energy consultants.

It will provide accommodation for up to 140 pupils but can be easily extended to cope with up to 210 youngsters – if there is further housing development in the area.

The need to make primary schools safer environments has led to the installation of security lighting and closed-circuit television with an alarm to warn-off intruders.

Tony Lewis, a member of Suffolk County Council's executive committee, said good buildings could help improve standards in schools.

"This new school will provide children in the area with excellent facilities in which to learn and I'm sure they will make the most of all the exciting environmental features," he said.

Other "green" schools in Suffolk include Cedarwood Primary in Ipswich and a private Steiner school at Thornham, near Eye, both of which have grass roofs.

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