'Excellent' green schools

THREE SECONDARY schools in the Borders are set to be the most environmentally advanced in the UK.

A pound;70 million public-private partnership deal has been signed by Scottish Borders Council and the Scottish Borders Education Partnership Consortium to create the new high schools in Earlston, Eyemouth and Duns.

3D Architects, based in Edinburgh and Glasgow, won the contract to design the schools, and a pre-construction assessment by the Building Research Establish-ment indicates the completed buildings will achieve the highest Breeam (BRE environmental assessment method) rating of "excellent". The certification sets environmental targets for new and refurbished school buildings. Designs which receive certification are rated at four levels - pass, good, very good and excellent.

To get an "excellent" rating, designs must achieve credits in eight areas - management, health and well-being, energy, transport, water, material and waste, land use and ecology, and pollution. A set of environmental weightings is applied to produce a single overall score.

The Berwickshire, Earlston and Eyemouth schools, which are due to be completed in 2009, will include biomass boilers capable of running on woodchips. Fuel may potentially be sourced from local forests to reduce vehicle movements. The buildings will follow contours and local materials and labour will be used where possible.

Assisted natural ventilation will improve internal air quality, pre-heated fresh air intake will reduce drafts and sustainable urban drainage systems will be used to treat and control rainwater run-off. A professional ecologist will advise on habitat creation and protection.

Each site will have wind turbines to illustrate the potential of renewable energy sources, while high ceilings will maximise daylight and improve internal air quality. Zoned heating areas will allow optimum control of temperature and minimal energy consumption. Proximity sensor operated lights - "intelligent" lighting - will be on only when needed.

The schools will feature a waste recycling policy, and excavated materials will be re-used on site.

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