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Inspiring schools

28 July 2010

Making a school sustainable is partly about the smart application of technology. But it’s also about the ethos and ambitions of a school.

Green Day 2010 – learning how to save energy in the boiler room of Henry Moore Primary School, Essex.

Green Day 2010 – learning how to save energy in the boiler room of Henry Moore Primary School, Essex. Photo by David Parry/PA.

Schools have an important role to play as places where children can be inspired to value and care for their environment, and as models of good practice in sustainable management and design.

Equally, sustainability is important because schools in England generate roughly the same amount of greenhouse gas emissions as all the energy and transport of Birmingham and Manchester put together. Changing this is now the law. Local authorities have to monitor the energy performance of individual schools and publicly report under the carbon reduction commitment.

As places of learning, schools can demonstrate to students and the wider community our impact on the planet. Sustainable school design includes ventilation, use of natural light and heating and cooling, through to car parking, orientation of the school buildings and design of the school grounds.

Resources at CABE

Green Day helps young people and school staff to learn about climate change and how it relates to their local area. More than 1,000 schools took part this summer. CABE’s Green Day activity kit includes ideas for incorporating sustainability themes into lessons and activities for the whole school to create more sustainable buildings and spaces.

Our School Building Matters is a toolkit to help teachers make the most of the learning opportunities created by building a new school or refurbishing an existing one. It includes ideas for using school buildings to teach children about sustainable design and construction.

Engaging Places is an online resource to support primary and secondary school teaching about the built environment, including energy and the environment. 

Examples of changing people’s behaviour

Examples of sustainable school design

CABE and Urban Practitioners
with the cities of Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield