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Eco-building for the future

Eco-building

Pupils from St Dunstan’s School in Glastonbury have marked a significant step in eco-building by burying a time capsule on the site of their new Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC) base, the first of its kind in Somerset.

The new ASC school building on the site of St Dunstan’s School is the first educational building in Somerset to be built to Passivhaus specifications. Passivhaus builds are known for their excellent energy efficiency which help minimise future running costs, protect the environment and are designed to be Net Zero. The building was given the go-ahead by Somerset County Council in May 2022.

On Friday 11th November staff, parents and students from the Park Road Support Centre Frome, part of St Dunstan’s School, who are moving to the new base gathered together to bury the time capsule and visit the new base during its construction. Pupils included information about themselves and where they saw their own future. It is hoped future generations will discover the treasure and look back on the history of the school and town.

The ASC building is a project by Futures for Somerset, a partnership which includes Somerset County Council and BAM Construct. It will cost £1.53 million, is being built by contractors C G Fry and is scheduled to be completed by June 2023 ready for September and the start of the new academic year. It will provide school places for up to 16 pupils.

Eco-Building: Passivhaus Standards

The construction features energy efficient and low environmental impact facilities, with high levels of insulation and triple glazing, low energy lighting, air source heat pumps and heat recycling through ventilation. The building only uses electrical energy, most of which is created by solar panels on the roof, feeding surplus electricity back into the electricity grid.

“It’s tremendously exciting to see this new eco-build – a first for our school building programme in Somerset. Eco-builds like this will help enormously with Somerset County Council’s battle against the climate emergency. Young people are telling us climate change is a top priority for them, so it’s nice to have them learning in a building where combating climate change is a fundamental part of the construction. That means future generations will be able one day to dig up the time capsule and see what life in Glastonbury and at St Dunstan’s was like in 2022 and how their forebears worked to make a better future for them”.

Cllr Tessa Munt, Somerset County Council Lead Executive Member for Children and Families

Sally Allen is the Headteacher of the new Park Road St Dunstan’s school base. She said “Creating a time capsule is brilliant for children learning about the history of their local area. Current pupils will grow up knowing that future generations, possibly even their descendants, can discover what life was like for them. This amazing new building will also leave an impression on the future by creating its own energy and wasting as little in heat and light as possible, creating a cleaner environmental future”.

Final thought

This inspiring story hopefully ends with the children of the future digging up this time capsule in a world where facilities for those with autism spectrum conditions are excellent and buildings that are efficient and minimise emissions are the norm. Still, it’s important to note these first steps.

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