News that doesn't receive the necessary attention.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Mullti-million dollar zero-carbon eco-school building has leaks, mold, gaping holes after only 3 years, UK children now being taught in tents, fear eco-school a health hazard, not sustainable

9/11/13, "'Eco-school' that opened just THREE years ago is already leaking so badly pupils will have to go into temporary classrooms for two years," UK Daily Mail, Paul Bentley

"Dartington Primary School's new £7million eco-building opened in 2010 

But Devon County Council says it began leaking shortly after opening 

Lessons are in tents on the playing fields while repairs are carried out"  

"When it opened its timber doors three years ago, this  £7million ‘eco primary school’ was applauded for its environmentally friendly credentials.

It was heated by solar power and its plumbing system relied on rain collected from the roof, which was made of locally grown sweet chestnut.

Sadly, the zero-carbon building is not quite as sustainable as the designers had hoped.
In fact, thanks to a series of water leaks and mouldy walls, pupils are now being taught in tents erected in the school grounds.
The local authority in Devon has already spent £250,000 to investigate the problem, and plans to sue the architects. Without urgent repairs, it says teaching pupils inside the building could seriously damage their health.

Dartington Primary School, near Totnes, used to house students in a Victorian building but it reopened in 2010 as one of the first zero-carbon schools in the country.

The new site was praised for being ‘stunning’ and ‘extremely environmentally friendly’. Its design featured four buildings made from ‘sustainable’ timber, with solar panels providing electricity and heat. 

The roof was supposedly weather-proofed with strips of sweet chestnut grown nearby and angled so rainwater could be collected and used to flush the toilets. But apparent faults in the structure mean the roof and walls have become sodden, buckling over time and leaving gaping holes for rain to leak inside

Tania Mountney, whose son attends the school, said: ‘There’s been leaking there ever since it opened. Last year we could see the roof was starting to warp.’ She added: I went to a parents’ lunch and you could see these large patches of mould. My ex-partner is a builder and he couldn’t understand how it could get that bad.’ 

Children are now being taught in five large marquees in the grounds, with repairs to the main buildings predicted to take up to two years.

Miss Mountney, a childminder, said she only found out about the tents when she took her son to school for the beginning of term this week. 

‘I drove past on Sunday and saw several marquees. I thought there must have been some sort of event on. The next morning I arrived to find classes had moved, some of them into marquees and some of them into the library and the art room. 

'The children are too young to know what’s happening. They think it’s all very exciting.’

When the eco school opened three years ago, headteacher Jill Mahon said: ‘It is a stunning design. I believe it will be a flagship school which will be extremely environmentally friendly.’ She declined to comment yesterday.

A report for Devon County Council found it has already paid £250,000 merely to investigate the cause of the leaks and start initial repairs.

A spokesman said: ‘Temporary accommodation has been installed and all classes went ahead when children returned to school. We are currently taking legal advice.’

Architects White Design, of Bristol, said they were working with the council to solve the problems." via Free Republic

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