New Liverpool school seeks ‘Very Good’ BREEAM

Details of the state of the art sustainable design (and construction) for Liverpool Lower Lee Special school were posted on Building website earlier this week. (Story, pictures and strategy)

The school is only targetting a Very Good BREEAM level accreditation – beacuase, according to Mouchels architect “An BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating would only be achievable with a considerably larger outlay on renewables,”

How does this square with Ed Balls announcement recently that wants all new school buildings to be zero-carbon by 2016 and has put a few million in the pot to help achieve this? see Zero Carbon Schools

And indeed how does it square with the (albeit draft) Construction Strategy for Sustainability that calls for  public buildings to have BREEAM Excellent Assessments by 2008.   Construction on Lower Lee finishes in 2009.

Where is the watchdog for all this?

Whilst Lower Lee has some fantastic sustainable design aspects and it is to applauded for that, this does raise the question – are we building schools for the future?

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2 Responses to New Liverpool school seeks ‘Very Good’ BREEAM

  1. When I quizzed architect Phil Martin from Mouchel about this, he replied:

    “I am advised by one of our BREEAM assessors that the requirement for an excellent rating only applies to buildings occupied by government departments or under direct government contracts. The requirement for schools under the Building Schools for the Future initiative is “Very Good”.

    I think this shows two things:

    1) More uncertainty about what is a public building and what isn’t. Government buildings are required to be BREEAM Excellent (of course that doesn’t happen much), but schools are only (according to Phil Martin) supposed to be “Very Good.” Well, why? And Stuart Barlow from 3DReid says that leisure centres are not going to have to have Display Energy Certificates comething the hour, despite being, when I last went to one, public buildings.

    2) It shows the continued high cost of capital outlay on some renewable features which seems to be prohibitive in public projects.

    We will have sustainable architecture guru, Sarah Wigglesworth, write a column on the Building Sustainability site next month about how some of her features such as turbines and (I think) CHP elements have had to be nixed due to budgetary restrictions on her school designs. She’s fuming and feels particularly bad for wasting client’s money.

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  2. fairsnape says:

    Thanks Michael for the information and update.

    I need to check out the LEED for schools ( the USA version of BREEAM) where it seems the capital outlay is easily recovered through school performance as well as building performance over the life of a school

    It does demonstrate a lack of joined up thinking at government level, a lack of looking, really looking beyond capital costs (always trying to get things cheaper) and our propensity to take the easiest route in all these things.

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