Chalk goes Fossil Free at school

By Tom Barnes, Design Director and Sustainability Lead

What is a fossil-free initiative?

The Department for Education recently announced its commitment to creating a more sustainable future by promoting fossil-free schools. This initiative is aimed at reducing the carbon footprint of schools across the country by phasing out the use of fossil fuels in heating, lighting and cooking. The Department for Education believes that this will not only help address climate change, but also improve air quality and create healthier learning environments for students.

The transition to fossil-free schools involves a range of measures, from installing energy-efficient equipment to using renewable energy sources like solar panels and wind turbines. Schools are also encouraged to educate their students about the importance of sustainability and environmental stewardship. The fossil-free initiative since launch has gained significant momentum, with many schools across the UK taking steps towards becoming fossil-free.

Chalk supports fossil-free initiatives at Glebe Farm School

September 2022 saw the opening of Glebe Farm School, Milton Keynes’ first fossil-free, all-through school in the parish of Wavendon. Part of the Inspiring Futures through Learning (IFtL) multi-academy trust, Glebe Farm is a brand-new education facility, and will provide for 1530 students aged 3 to 16 years old.

In partnership with Morgan Sindall Construction, Chalk worked to deliver the FF&E fit out of this ‘gas free’, centre of educational innovation. As an alternative to gas, air source heat pumps which absorb heat from the outside air provide all the energy needed for air and hot water. All lighting comes from ultra-efficient LEDs whilst solar panels generate power for the building.

With a commitment to the provision of outstanding pastoral support the school aims to offer unrivalled curriculum and enhancement opportunities, enabling pupils and students from all backgrounds to pursue their interests and fulfil their potential within an aesthetically engaging and energy efficient environment.

In the delivery of Glebe Farm, Chalk supported the wider strategy of decarbonisation by reducing the use of both embodied and operational carbon. Within the food technology department, as an alternative to natural gas, Chalk designed and installed bespoke electrical systems powered by the school’s renewable energy supply.

Separately, our expert inhouse FF&E team, tailored a specific whole-life FF&E strategy for the specification and procurement of 6.5k fixed and loose-fit furniture items for classrooms, shared and flexible spaces, meeting rooms, and common areas. Where possible, material selection criteria included durability to increase long-life furniture expectancy, avoidance of single-use plastics, and selection of items with a high recycled content and increased whole-life usability.

In summary

By working together, we can create a more sustainable future for our children and residential communities. The Department for Education’s efforts to promote fossil-free schools is an important step and as a UK leading provider of construction and FF&E fit outs for the education sector, talk to Chalk about your fossil-free, GenZero and Carbon Neutral ambitions.