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Published: 17 July 2015 in Industry News

Sustainability to be Key Focus in Future School Design

Green government isn’t just a buzz phrase. The current coalition government pledged to mark it’s period in power as the greenest on record. The Coalition Agreement that exists between our two ruling parties defines this as a “need to protect the environment for future generations, make our economy more sustainable and improve our quality of life and wellbeing”. This means the UK needs to find a way to develop the economy and infrastructure in an environmentally beneficial way that meets the needs of wildlife and the natural world whilst also leaving future generations with the tools to live productively and healthily.

How Can We Prepare Future Generations?

It may sound a little obvious, but education begins at school. It’s at school we learn how to socialise and what to expect from the world. The government believes that by implementing sustainable building and environment standards in schools (e.g. tailor-made prefab buildings and mobile classrooms running on sustainable power, etc) we can prepare future generations by showing them that sustainability isn’t an alternative, it’s the standard way of living. Future legislation will likely promote sustainability in terms of school buildings in a much more present way than ever before.

3 Sustainability Tips for Today’s Schools

1. Reduce Waste
English schools throw away the equivalent of 185 double-decker busses every day. Between 70% and 75% of that waste is paper, card and food. English primary schools currently only recycle around 15% of their recyclable waste, 20% in English secondary schools. If there’s one sustainability initiative to put into play tomorrow, make it recycling. Reducing waste can also be about learning how not to make waste, e.g. by reusing or swapping items. Giving away things like old sports equipment to charitable organisations can show children and young people the value of every item and paint our disposable culture in the poor light it deserves.

2. Engage in Biodiversity
What can you do with all that food waste? Why not create a compost heap and open it up for local residents each year? Other great ways to encourage biodiversity are learning about which plants attract particular insects and how they benefit each other. For example, the humble British bumblebee is in trouble, but it’s hoped educating children on the vital role the bee plays in our natural biodiversity could be it’s saving grace.

3. Encourage Low Carbon Travel 
Cycling is a crucial part of the government’s low carbon transport aims in education. Some figures suggest 10% of children are driven less than half a kilometre each day. Schools need to provide safe, secure storage for bicycles, and our portable buildings and shelters are ideal. Also on the cards are walking buses and the eradication of the car as a form of school run transport. Walking buses involve groups of children and supervisory parents walking a planned route to and from school each day, collecting children along the way under safe supervision and without the environmental damage of a car.

Springfield’s Contribution

We have recently been awarded the UK’s best portable building in the 2016 sustainable building awards. We are incredibly proud of this award and constantly strive to ensure our buildings are as sustainable as they possibly can be. Read our article to find out more about Springfield’s sustainablity award. 

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