Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Born-again Terrapin in Chesham Bois

Many schools used to have a 1960’s terrapin — It was a temporary building designed to accommodate a class, often without a toilet, in conditions that guaranteed cold in winter and sweltering heat in the summer.

Carrying water across the playground to supply it was an additional task for the milk monitor. In such places many people were said to be having the happiest days of their lives.

But all good things come to an end, and I was delighted to go to Chesham Bois C of E Combined School on Saturday to open a new classroom for reception children, repacing such a structure. Fundraising for it was all local, and the project to have it built has been running for a long time. Although the wait was tedious, the result is a building whose time has come — a superb suite of teaching and ancillary facilities, including a kitchen area, loos, storage and outdoor play area.

Best of all, this scheme combines various technologies to provide insulation and reduce power consumption to a point where there will be times at which it is self powering — PV / solar cells for hot water and electricity, with an air-source heatpump that extracts heat from air on its way in and out of the building. By jumping in early in the microgeneration cycle, the school will gain maximum benefit from its investment, and was able to secure a 50% grant to install the PV / solar cells. By monitoring use, awareness grows, and the school has very much got itself a reception classroom for tomorrow as well as today. Other schools who wish to have the benefit of such tasty worms need to be early birds...
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