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Better than traditional schools?

During the last decades in the United Kingdom several educational buildings were built with a strong environmental ethos, real icons of a new generation of low-energy sustainable buildings. In some of the buildings post occupancy evaluations were held and building’s performance was revealed. Also in the Netherlands during the last years several new concepts were developed for sustainable schools. This is an interesting topic as many of those schools had problems concerning energy efficiency, indoor air quality and thermal comfort. In the case of sustainable schools much effort went into the design process of the schools to try to find better solutions to face the problems of the traditional designs. This resulted in different solution concepts, which raises the question which are better school concepts. From literature three evaluations from the UK and one overview of 5 sustainable educational buildings from the Netherlands are given, which show that sustainable educational buildings are not always without flaws. In the paper two of the first Dutch sustainable elementary schools are compared with 9 more traditional schools of the Netherlands to conclude whether the sustainable schools perform better than traditional schools.

As the icon of a new generation of sustainable educational buildings which was completed in late 1993, the Queens Building at De Montfort University, Leicester, gained a reputation with its startling architecture, in particular the distinctive ventilation chimneys [1], see figure 1. The Queens Building was seen as the first in a new generation of lowenergy, naturally ventilated sustainable buildings. Architect Short Ford Associates worked on the building design alongside environmental engineer Max Fordham LLP, Cambridge Architectural Research (on the stack-effect chimneys) and Bristol University (on the physics of the airflow). The 10.000 m2 building is L-shaped containing a complex arrangement of laboratories, classrooms and offices. The structure is almost exclusively naturally ventilated [1].

Auteurs: W.Zeiler* en ir. G. Boxem

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