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GenZero Schools Research Project

GenZero reimagines how we design and build our next generation of secondary schools in England.

GenZero Crawley. Image credit: Lyall Bills & Young Architects
CGI of GenZero Crawley classroom with a shadow people sitting at desks and standing by the smartboard.

Location

England, United Kingdom

Client

Department for Education

Architect

Lyall Bills & Young Architects

Ares LA

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."

Key fact

This new design concept will promote healthier spaces for children to learn and thrive both now and in the future.

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Key fact

Modern Methods of Construction will increase efficiencies, minimise transport and reduce material use throughout the build.

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Key fact

The net zero design model highlights specifications for future procurement to achieve low emissions.

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Alan Fogarty in London office reception in a suit witch wooden terrace panelling for plants in background

Alan Fogarty

Partner, Sustainability

View bio

GenZero will inspire a new era of sustainable schools, influence how we design, and challenge the entire industry to do the same.

GenZero Birmingham. Image credit: Ares Landscape Architects and Lyall Bills & Young Architects
A CGI cross section of the four-storey GenZero Birmingham school. The staircases are bright yellow.
GenZero Birmingham. Image credit: Ares Landscape Architects and Lyall Bills & Young Architects
A CGI Image of a four-storey school building surrounded by landscaping in an urban environment.
GenZero Birmingham. Image credit: Ares Landscape Architects and Lyall Bills & Young Architects
A CGI image of the cafeteria of the GenZero Birmingham School. CGI shadow people stand around the room.
GenZero Crawley. Image credit: Ares Landscape Architects and Lyall Bills & Young Architects
A CGI cross section of the GenZero Crawley school showing the cafeteria and classrooms.
GenZero Crawley. Image credit: Ares Landscape Architects and Lyall Bills & Young Architects
CGI exterior image of GenZero Crawley school showing lots of solar panels on the roof and landscaping surrounding everything.
GenZero Crawley. Image credit: Ares Landscape Architects and Lyall Bills & Young Architects
CGI image of a landscaped garden path winding between two buildings and under a glass bridge that joins the two buildings.

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