Creating a sustainable school building design

31 August 2016
 Categories: Construction & Contractors, Blog

Schools were traditionally built to maximise learning space, but there is now a growing emphasis on incorporating some environmental aspects into the building design. Here are some aspects that you can consider incorporating into the building design. 

Natural ventilation

With school starting back in February each year, incorporating some natural ventilation can be an important part of keeping the buildings cool during the hottest months. This can help to lower the amount of air conditioning you require while creating a more pleasant learning environment for students and teachers. This can involve having windows that can be opened in the later afternoon (with insect shields) and venting built in the wall along the orientation of the normal breeze angles (often near the roof line). 

Cool roofs and solar panels

Another way that school rooms can get hot during summer is when dark roofs sink heat on hot days. It is a good idea to use lighter shades to keep the roof reflective. You can also make the most of the sunshine by incorporating solar panels into the roof to help power the school. Many local councils and governments have rebates for solar panels for school and other not-for-profit organisations. 

Rainwater capture

It can be a great idea to make the most of any rainfall by creating a building design that captures water and directs it into the garden. If you live in a heavy rainfall area, it can be a good idea to have a high roof pitch that allows the water to be guided off the roof and into designed parts of the garden, including into designed garden beds, lawned areas and rainwater tanks. 

Cool playgrounds

Play areas also need to be considered in the building design. Play areas can become heat sinks that radiate heat after-hours, particularly in older, 'traditional', dark, bitumen playgrounds. It can be a good idea to incorporate shade sails that can be removed in winter to keep the play equipment cool and usable, as well as grassed areas and lighter paths. This means that the students can get outside and that teachers can even incorporate some outdoor lessons during great weather. 

Incorporating a sustainable approach into your building design for your school from the start can create a building that is comfortable and cheaper to run, as well as being better for the environment. Why not talk to a designer like Bill Jacobs Pty. Ltd. about how to create sustainable design for your new school?