Tumblelog by Soup.io
Newer posts are loading.
You are at the newest post.
Click here to check if anything new just came in.

March 26 2013


Britain’s New Baseline School Design Sacrifices Style for Savings

Britain’s Education Secretary Michael Gove and the Department for Education have released blueprints for the baseline design for schools that they believe “demonstrate good practice that can be achieved within [a] set cost and area allowances.” The government’s goal is to reduce the cost of new school buildings from the previous £21m to less than £14m each for the replacement of 261 of the most run-down schools in the country.

These new schools, however, will be 15% smaller than the ones designed originally under the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) program, potentially compromising important spaces such as corridors, assembly halls, canteens and atriums. Many teachers have expressed concern for these changes, as they could lead to congestion, bad behavior among students and would “undermine attempts to maximize the value for money of school buildings by making them available for community functions after hours.”

Architects and the architecture community at large are also worried about the design implications of such a standardized school building prototype – how will it interact with the existing school buildings and how could restricted design affect Britain’s educational system?

More after the break…

One of the new templates released by the government reads: “A standardized approach should be taken, with the aim of creating simple designs that have the potential to be replicated on a number of sites. This may be achieved by using standardized dimensions for similar types of spaces that are integrated into an efficient planning and structural grid.”

There are ways of making standardized yet good designs, as The Guardian’s Oliver Wainwright explains in his article on Oscar Niemeyer’s homogenized yet great school blueprints in Brazil. However, many of the new limitations on British schools are not conducive to this and are, frankly, a little ridiculous: no folding internal partitions to subdivide classrooms, no roof terraces that can be used as play areas, no glazed walls or translucent plastic roofs and, perhaps the most extreme, no curves. It’s as if government officials decided to list off and prohibit every architectural element they believed to be costly instead of seeing the design as flexible within a pre-determined budget and without considering each element’s social and educational implications.

The government has made it clear that money is what is at stake here, and they are doing what they can to send a clear message to architects that this program will be a no-frills operation. Gove even told a conference on free schools last year that they would not be hiring ”any award-winning architects to design [the blueprint] because no one in this room is here to make architects richer.”

Many architects, such as Peter Clegg of Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, feel that the government’s attitude shows an “extreme lack of trust in the architectural and construction professions to deliver schools to budget.” It’s also unclear if it’ll even be possible to apply the prototype to every single situation, as the blueprint claims. Clegg also believes that it’s best to just go the traditional route and evaluate existing schools on a case-by-case basis and then decide where to invest a limited amount of money.

These blueprints also bring up the question of how important a building is to a student’s education. Most can agree that an innovative, state-of-the-art design doesn’t inherently make a school perform well, as with the case of Perry Beeches academy in Birmingham, one of the worst-performing schools in 2007 with one of the priciest designs. But while some believe that the teachers and curriculum are the only things Britain should be focusing on, others have confidence that the learning environment plays a very vital role.

Will these new blueprints stifle not only students but also smart, effective designs and designers that are concerned with more than just saving money? Isn’t it possible to cut down costs without cutting out case-specific architectural choices that will improve and even revolutionize education? Where is the bigger picture and why are Gove and his team excluding those who could arguably best handle the problem?

References: The Guardian (123), The Centre for School DesignRIBABritish Department for Education

January 17 2012


Helping Teachers Stand Up for Science

The National Center for Science Education has added climate change to its mandate, offering teachers advice on how to counter pressure from school boards and parents to depart from the scientific consensus.

June 08 2011


From a Special-Ed Class, Solar Evangelists

A group of autistic students at a California high school are happily proselytizing for solar power in local elementary schools.

May 19 2011


As School Roofs Crumble, Toronto Finds Solar Solution

The city's school board will install solar panels on the roofs of schools and sell electricity to Ontario's government-owned utility.

April 29 2011

Finally, Buildings Are Going Net- Zero Water With Composting Toilets
Images credit the Bertschi School Water and sewage piping are the arteries and veins of our cities, requiring huge investment in infrastructure and maintenance. But have the technology both to collect and clean rainwater, and deal with human waste locally, to go "off-pipe" and it is beginning to happen. At Bertschi School in Seattle, the new Science wing has been built to meet Living Building Challenge standards, and is net-zero water and net-zero energy....Read the full story on TreeHugger

February 16 2011


Solar Panel Installer Certifications and Training Courses

Solar power has been emerged as a rapidly growing technology for home and business buildings. Since the new constructions are acquiring LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certificate and large number of house owners are trying to find the means to shrink their energy bills; hence the business of solar installation will enhance on continuous basis.

Solar Installation as Career

Solar Installation as Career

The individuals who are allowed to work as qualified installers are small. Besides that the demand for solar installation has increased. Hence, for those who are looking for an excellent future career; the solar installation can really be a nourishing career.

Solar Installation Certificate

One can acquire solar installation certificate through different means. For instance, the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners is a panel of people from different professions who work on voluntary basis. These professionals are from the field of solar energy, education, trades and law makers. They are building a national certification program.

Entry Level Exam

The foremost requirement is to complete the coursework which is supplied by different companies other than North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners. The beginners also have to pass the PV entry level exam. This is the primary step to develop into the NABCEP qualified PV Installer. After qualifying, their names will be listed in the directory of solar installers.

Solar Installation Training Programs

The complete details about various training program can be searched on the Internet. The IREC (Interstate Renewable Energy Council) is authorized body in North America for ISPQ (Institute for Sustainable Power Quality). This particular institute cultivates the principles and course of action to appraise training programs and other officially recognized programs.

Solar installer training can be acquired through different means. The online course modules are also available, but by and large these do not provide any practical knowledge. On the other hand, the technological or trade schools are normally imparting the practical knowledge for solar installation.

Community Colleges

In this regard, community colleges generally have an impartial method of teaching. Besides obtaining a college degree, the acquisition of solar installing certificate is gain knowledge about the techniques and ideology of solar installation.

Home Power Magazine

Solar Panel Installation

In the April/May 2010 issue of Home Power Magazine there was a very knowledgeable piece of writing, “Charting Your Solar Course”. This is specifically very useful or individuals who would like to adopt solar PV as their career.

This article also provides a comprehensive list of universities, community college and trade schools that are imparting education in solar panel installation.

Online Search for Solar Installer Jobs

If you try to find online about the starting level of solar installer jobs, you will also obtain a thorough knowledge about the demands and experience level that companies want in this field. Each of the state requires different education for the purpose of training, permits and licensing.

You may be able to acquire on job training in some fields for an authorized solar panel installer in few fields till the time you learn ample skill to pass exam for your own certification. If you search, what are the requirements for a learner or trainee, you will choose your study module in an apt manner.

People who liked this Post also read

February 01 2011

Why We Need Humane Education In Our Schools
Photo by Shermeee via Flickr Creative Commons Zoe Weil is the founder of Institute of Humane Education, and she recently gave a TED talk on the importance of redesigning how we educate people. We wanted to find out more about how a humane education could improve the green movement. Zoe was kind enough to talk with us, and explain everything from exactly what a "humane education" is and...Read the full story on TreeHugger

January 31 2011


Present! Roll Call Continues for PCB Leaks

In the building housing P.S. 13 and 358 in Brooklyn, elevated levels of PCBs were found in all seven samples taken from leaking light fixtures.

January 19 2011

TED Talk: Zoe Weil on Shaping The World Through Our Classrooms
Image via YouTube Zoe Weil is the president of Institute for Humane Education, a non-profit organization dedicated to creating a humane world through teaching principles of living a more meaningful life. In other words, we can create a sustainable, thriving world if we learn to better use our skills of integrity, compassion, healthful lifestyles and so on. While it sounds a little esoteric, or worse, all-out crunchy, what the IHE teaches makes a lot of sense. In a recent TEDx event, Zoe Weil explains exactly how such a stance on education can lead us ...Read the full story on TreeHugger

January 07 2011

In the UK, Even Boathouses Are Passivhaus
images credit Footprint In North America, Passivhaus or Passive House designs are still rare; in Europe, it is becoming the new standard. Most buildings built to the standard are residential, but at King's School in Worcester, Associated Architects are building a Passivhaus Boathouse for their rowing program....Read the full story on TreeHugger

December 06 2010

Green Roofs Are Changing Architecture: BIG's New School In Denmark
Images credit BIG Green roofs continue to change architecture, as architects blend buildings into the landscape and use the roofs as architectural elements, often to hide the building from view. The Vilhelmsro school in Denmark "focuses on nature and sustainability" so Bjarke Ingels of BIG designed it out of sloping landscaped bands that are integrated into the hillside....Read the full story on TreeHugger

November 29 2010

How Do You Teach Kids to Live Sustainably on an Island?
What's being done to teach environmental education to kids like these? Photo credit: maveric2003 via Flickr/Creative Commons Environmental education is playing a bigger role around the globe as we all learn more about our environmental surroundings. As with all environmental solutions, there's no one-size-fits-all recipe for effective environmental education around the world; there are just too many cultural, social, and environmental variances to make it work effectively. Add in some wrinkles like ...Read the full story on TreeHugger

August 10 2010

School Gardening Makes Children Smarter
Images from RHS Forget about playing Mozart when the baby is in the womb--start a school garden instead! A new report from the Royal Horticultural Society has found that when children work in school gardens they develop increased life skills, greater literacy and numeracy and are more responsive to the challenges of adult life. Sounds like we all need to work in one.... Carried out by the National Foundation for Educational Research , Read the full story on TreeHugger

June 29 2010

Education in a Box
Image courtesy of B Spector / Museum of Science and Industry One of my very favorite green products on the market is the Earthbox. The Earthbox doubles the yield of a conventional garden, with less water, less fertilizer, virtually no effort. They are great for adding to your courtyard, roof deck, balcony or backyard. Earthbox is also wonderful for countries short on water, healthy food and financial resources. They along with The Growing Connection have been doing a lot of work in places like Africa and ...Read the full story on TreeHugger

June 17 2010

How to Grow an Edible School Garden
Image credit: Good Planting, tending, and harvesting a garden teaches young students the value of the soil, the delicacy of plants, and the joy a few hours of dirty work can bring. It can also help supplement those woefully unbalanced school lunches everyone has been talking about. In this vein, Good offers a quick guide to starting an edible school garden....Read the full story on TreeHugger

March 20 2010

Getting School Nutrition on the Front Burner Again
photo: School Food Focus I've written about school lunches on a number of occasions. The Child Nutrition and WIC Act of 2004 needs to be reauthorized and expanded. It expired on September 30, 2009, according to the School Nutrition Association, but the issue has been pushed to the back burner as a result of other legislative priorities, including healthcare reform and the war in Afghanistan. But now with First Lady Michelle Obama putting school lunches on the front burner...Read the full story on TreeHugger

March 12 2010

Lifestyle Adjustments, As Poverty Comes To The American Suburbs
Food pantry. Image credit: St. Louis Post Dispatch, (Laurie Skrivan/P-D) The era in which increasing numbers of people were willing to pay a premium for locally grown food or for 'organic' clothing appears to be ending. Poverty has become common in many US suburbs, triggered by 'the economy,' and in particular by the preceding fad of having a huge home with low property taxes in the far suburbs . For an example, see the emblematic story in the StarTribune, Read the full story on TreeHugger

February 26 2010

Project Earth Hosts Carnival of the Green
This week marks Carnival of the Green #215, and it's being hosted by Project Earth, a blog for environmental information and discussion, but also one for curriculum ideas by and for high school teachers and students. So head on over to this week's Carnival which includes a round up of green news and events from the past week and your best green tweets, submitted by other bloggers and green sites. From 8 simple ways to save a thousand bucks to hiking in Norway to planting a garden for healt...Read the full story on TreeHugger

February 01 2010

A Defense of School Gardens and Response to Caitlin Flanagan's Cultivating Failure
Photo via rodaleinstitute.org. This post was written with Joseph Leonard Benveniste who knows a lot about schools The Edible Schoolyard program started in 1995 at Martin Luther King public middle school in Berkeley and has inspired growth of garden programs in other communities throughout the county during the past 15 years.The program teaches children valuable lessons as they learn to grow food. Caitlin Flanagan's Read the full story on TreeHugger

December 07 2009

The Roof is on Solar: California School District to Launch Largest Install of its Kind
Credit: SunEdison. A California school district is set to roll out the most comprehensive solar program of its kind in the United States. The Irvine Unified School District plans to give final approval on Tuesday to install solar panels on rooftops at each of its 21 campuses. The photovoltaic collection will become one of the largest solar installations at any school system in the country, Irvine officials say....Read the full story on TreeHugger
Older posts are this way If this message doesn't go away, click anywhere on the page to continue loading posts.
Could not load more posts
Maybe Soup is currently being updated? I'll try again automatically in a few seconds...
Just a second, loading more posts...
You've reached the end.

Don't be the product, buy the product!