In 2010 a new £7M sustainable eco-school was opened in Dartington, Devon. The BBC reported that it would be a “flagship school” and that it would be an “amazing learning tool for the children.” The school won a sustainability award, thanks to its heat pumps, solar panels etc. More details here, where the design is described as “brave” and “far-sighted”. According to this report, the previous buildings were Victorian, so had been sustained for over 100 years.
But the flagship sustainable eco-school started letting in water soon after it was opened, and after just three years pupils were being moved into temporary classrooms, leading to legal claims against the designers and builders (BBC here and here with video, Mail here: “Sadly, the zero-carbon building is not quite as sustainable as the designers had hoped”). At that stage it was being reported that the school would be repaired and re-opened in 2016.
But now the Telegraph reports that the “visionary” school is to be demolished, as the buildings are “beyond economic repair“, and another £6M is to be spent on a new building. See also local news report from the Totnes Times.
I’m still a bit puzzled about what sustainability means, if a building made from cutting down trees and using high-tech materials in solar panels and heat pumps that has to be knocked down after six years is more “sustainable” than one built of bricks and slate that lasts over a century. Perhaps I should enrol on my university’s MSc course on sustainability.