A school on Moreton Hall is claiming to have the ‘greenest’ school buildings in the county.
The Mount Road-based Moreton Hall Prep School believes its new classrooms are the greenest in Suffolk in terms of their energy consumption and design.
“They are the first buildings of this type in any UK school and probably represent the prototype for school developments across the country – not to mention other countries with more sunshine,” said headteacher Simon Head.
Each of the six classrooms has been made using structural insulated panels (SIP).
Mr Head said: “The primary material is a SIP which has extremely low U values, allowing very little heat to escape and keeping heating costs to a minimum – essentially the children heat the classrooms.”
They are also ventilated by a mechanical heat recovery system, which replaces stale air from the room with fresh air from outside but retains the heat within the building, and their roofs are made of photovoltaic solar panels.
The panels are expected to generate 36,000 kilowatt hours of energy each year and, with the classrooms expected to use a total of 7,200kwh, most of the remaining 28,800kwh is to be used to power other areas of the school.
What is not used will be sold back to the grid.
“This makes the buildings ‘carbon negative’ and avoids 15 tonnes of emissions per annum,” said Mr Head.
He added: “Even the lights are energy efficient T5 fluorescents, which use less than half of the energy used by a conventional T8 lamp.
“They are controlled by passive infra red sensors so they don’t need a manual switch and therefore can’t be left on when the rooms are unoccupied – no more flicking the lights on and off.
“Occasionally during extended writing tasks the lights turn off and the nearest pupil has to wave their arms around a bit, but on the whole there’s normally enough activity in lessons to keep the lights on.
“Of course, it’s what goes on inside the classrooms that is most important but we’re proud to be excellent inside and out.”
Cllr Lisa Chambers, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for environment and property management, said: ”Suffolk County Council is supportive of all building projects that result in lower energy and water bills, especially schools as the next generation can learn and be inspired about the extensive benefits of being green.”
She added: “Suffolk is rightly proud of its many green buildings and the Suffolk Green Buildings Network is a great place to find out more. I wish Moreton Hall Prep School every success in this exciting project.”