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5 ways to embrace school design sustainability in 2018

Designing schools focused on energy efficiency will not only help meet budgetary and social requirements, but also spread a planet-friendly message

Posted by Julian Owen | March 17, 2018 | Sustainability

As the reality of our environmental impact on the planet becomes ever clearer, it’s no surprise to see more emphasis on making lifestyle changes to adopt greener and more sustainable ways of living. In particular, the construction industry is increasingly seeking out more eco-friendly practices, which is trickling down into other areas - including the educational sector, where sustainability can be beneficial in a number of ways.

With this in mind, today, we’re taking a closer look at some of the most effective school design trends that prioritise our planet’s wellbeing without compromising the learning needs of students.

Consider passive buildings

With an inherent reliance on fossil fuels to heat buildings, passive building design offers a welcome alternative for many forward-thinking schools looking to reduce their consumption of heating fuel, as well as their carbon footprint.

Built to be well-insulated and utilise green technology, passive buildings work to generate and retain heat naturally through readily available sources like solar energy, while at the same time maintaining a constant temperature. This provides a viable and affordable solution for creating educational spaces that champion functionality, comfort and energy efficiency.

Move towards modular construction

Although the concept of offsite construction isn’t a new one, it is continually gaining traction as an effective green building solution across a variety of sectors, including the educational sphere. With volumetric units built offsite in controlled factory environments, offsite construction maximises the efficiency of the building process through streamlining construction output and resources, while the onsite installation reduces the cost and pollution associated with transportation, too. Better yet, modular room pods are designed with energy efficiency and sustainability in mind, making them the perfect choice for meeting the economic and environmental objectives facing modern schools.

Opt for sustainable building materials

Opting for locally produced and sustainable building materials can significantly up your school’s eco-friendly credentials, by lowering transportation costs and using readily available materials that are also easily replenished.

From the use of natural materials like cork for flooring to using clever concrete that heals itself when cracks appear, incorporating sustainable materials into your design contributes in a significant way towards reducing waste and harm to the planet.

Embrace recycled materials

With an eye on sustainability, it’s also possible for educational institutions to lower their impact on the planet by embracing the use of recycled materials in their design. With a wealth of recycled or reclaimed materials available, you can embed sustainability into your design without compromising the structure of the building

From recycled steel girders and glass to salvaged bricks and reclaimed timber, making eco-conscious choices when it comes to construction materials means sustainability can be built into the design of educational spaces.

Create versatile learning areas

With the needs of teachers and students continuing to change in modern schools, there’s increasing demand for agile learning spaces that can be easily adapted to support different uses and methods of learning.

This approach also comes with some welcome environmental benefits, as versatile learning spaces can reduce the need for additional construction, taking full advantage of an environment’s practical potential - saving both money and resources in the process.

From recycled and sustainable materials to innovative energy-efficient building methods, as these practices become a mainstay of modern construction, embracing sustainability in school design allows developers, contractors, facilities managers and more to deliver planet-friendly educational spaces that also maximise teaching and learning potential.

For more information visit offsite construction specialists, Elements Europe.

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