GenZero Schools Research Project
GenZero reimagines how we design and build our next generation of secondary schools in England.
The GenZero schools research project brought together a unique blend of expertise from across the industry to create digital models for two ‘kit-of-parts’ prototype schools. The prototypes were designed from first principles, taking a fabric first approach. Standardisation of all elements would enable offsite construction, reduce wastage and help meet the UK’s ambitious 2050 net zero carbon targets.
GenZero demonstrated how buildings can be future proofed against predicted warmer variable climates. In addition, it showed how a combination of high-performance envelopes, with heat pumps and heat scavenging, could reduce the energy demand dramatically, to allow roof mounted photovoltaic panels to power the building annually. It also illustrated how we can measure, reduce and offset the anticipated operational energy in addition to the embodied and whole life-cycle carbon emissions produced by construction.
Alan Fogarty, Sustainability Partner at Cundall, commented: "When it comes to designing for a lower carbon future, it’s not just the education sector that will benefit from GenZero. Learnings from the project are applicable across other vital social infrastructure which may utilise a similar kit-of-parts approach to sustainable design. This could include hospitals, military buildings, prisons, and transport facilities."
This new design concept will promote healthier spaces for children to learn and thrive both now and in the future.
Modern Methods of Construction will increase efficiencies, minimise transport and reduce material use throughout the build.
The net zero design model highlights specifications for future procurement to achieve low emissions.
GenZero will inspire a new era of sustainable schools, influence how we design, and challenge the entire industry to do the same.