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Children's body heat to warm new school building

At a time of year when other schools crank their central heating up high, a North Tyneside school is preparing to warm its new buildings with little more than children's body heat.

The staff and pupils of Seaton Sluice County Middle School in Whitley are designing new environmentally friendly buildings that use "kido-watts" instead of boilers.

A human body gives off 100 watts of heat - equivalent to a light-bulb and, used correctly, enough to make central heating redundant.

This allows the school to dramatically reduce its carbon footprint, in line with the Government's goal for all new schools to be carbon-neutral.

The design comes as climate change gives "people power" a new and very literal meaning: children can now wear school bags with solar panels to charge up their MP3 players, mobile phones or even laptops as they walk from class to class.

The new Seaton Sluice school is being designed to the same strict new environmental standards that have been adopted by some German schools, including those in Frankfurt.

The buildings will be virtually air-tight, meaning that the incidental heat given off by human bodies, computers and light-bulbs will supply most of the heating needs.

Mark Siddall, from Dewjo'c Architects, said kido-watts would contribute about three watts of heat per square metre.

The minimal additional heating required would be left on day and night, keeping the building at a comfortable temperature.

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