It wasn't cheap, but Cottrell & Vermeulen Architecture gave the Westborough Primary School a few snazzy upgrades that more than halve the building's annual carbon footprint. Located in Westcliff-on-Sea in the United Kingdom, the school's original red brick was left intact, and an attractive canopy comprised of shading and photovoltaic panels was added to cool off play areas, generate clean energy, and provide additional covered circulation space. That combined with new user controlled lighting and a host of interior interventions has reduced the school's annual carbon emissions from 40.1 kgco2/m2/year to 18 kgco2/m2/year.
Commissioned by the Southend-on-Sea Borough Council and the Governors of Westborough Primary School, the £1.35m project was completed earlier this year. Conceived as an experiment in carbon reduction and green building, the project continues to stand as an excellent model of sustainable renovation not only for other schools in the United Kingdom but also for the students.
Space heating is derived from a biomass boiler and the building’s insulation was increased to provide additional thermal efficiency. A handy energy savings counter displayed on the school’s wall demonstrates how much energy the solar cells generate, how much energy is consumed at any given time, what kind of carbon emissions are saved, and how many oak trees are required to absorb the carbon being emitted. This small sign is more than a quaint gesture. Instead, children are empowered with the knowledge of how their energy consumption impacts their environment.
All images via Anthony Coleman