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Sights set on zero carbon schools

A task force is being launched to advise ministers and gather evidence on how to make sure every new school building is zero carbon by 2016.

Defining a ‘zero carbon school’ will be one of the first tasks for the panel which includes representatives from across the building industry including leading firms Faber Maunsell, Arup,
Fulcrum Consulting and Willmott Dixon Construction.

The taskforce being chaired by architect Robin Nicholson met for the first time this week and will undertake a call for evidence later this summer to research the technological and cost barriers to achieving zero carbon targets within school.

The taskforce includes: Bauman Lyons founder - Irena Bauman, CIBSE low-carbon pioneer and building performance expert - Bill Bordass, Department for Children, Schools and Families - Sally Brooks,  Regional Director of Faber Maunsell’s Sustainable Development Group - Simon Burton, Senior policy adviser on sustainable buildings at the Sustainable Development Commission - Lizzie Chatterjee, Senior Partner with Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios - Peter Clegg, Associate Director at Buro Happold Ltd - Andrew Cripps, Devon County Council’s Head of Strategic Planning at the Children & Young People's Services Directorate - Vic Ebdon, Founding partner of Fulcrum Consulting - Prof Andy Ford, Professor of Bioclimatic Architecture and Head of the School of the Built Environment at the University of Nottingham – Prof Brian Ford,  Interim Director of the Enabling Programme at CABE - Mairi Johnson Executive Director for Strategic Technologies at British Educational Communications and Technology Agency - Dr Stephen Lucey, Head of Sustainable Development with Willmott Dixon Construction - George Martin, Head of Building Design Consultancy, Building Research Establishment  - Jon Mussett, Mukund Patel - Chief Officer for GEMS Education. Policy & Programme Director with Partnerships for Schools - Justin Slater, Arup director - Deb Thomas
Mr Nicholson said:  'This is not going to be straightforward but if there is one sector that must show the way then it should be schools, at the heart of our communities, especially given the scale of the replacement programmes'.

Children’s Secretary Ed Balls said the Children’s Plan published in December paved the way for unprecedented capital investment in school.

He said:  'This will be the most ambitious design and building initiative the school system has
ever faced. This expert task force drawn from the construction, sustainability and education sectors will help us overcome the technical, design and construction challenges over the next eight years.

'I don't have time for critics who will carp that this is impossible. I know that current technology makes zero-carbon schools expensive and challenging to install on many existing school sites.

'The fact is that we have a clear moral responsibility to future generations to make it happen. We can no longer sit back and wait for the science to catch up with us - it would be a dereliction of duty if we did.'

The Zero Carbon Taskforce will develop a roadmap for achieveing targets by 2016, make recommendations for implementing the strategy, identify any sites where this mught be impossible to achieve, highlight developments which could set an example for others or be rolled out more extensively.

It will also review the scope for cutting emissions through refurbishment of existing facilities.

Pictured above is Howe Dell School - Hertfordshire’s first ‘eco-school’ developed by Fulcrum Consulting and the first building in the world to feature a revolutionary new heating system that uses the school playground to heat and cool its buildings