Space for Learning

Schoolchildren in the Growing Lab, which has a glass roof with ventilation and shading, at RHS Wisley, Surrey. © RHS/Fiona Secrett

Environmental sustainability

Designing an environmentally friendly building and learning space includes considering the build process and materials, as well as how the design and operation of your learning spaces offers you the opportunity to incorporate sustainability principles.

An environmental centre would make sustainability a top priority, but there is a growing commitment by other types of site to adopt such solutions. Areas to consider are building method and materials, energy, transport, waste management and recycling. As well as your architect local sustainability charities can be a good source of ideas.

An education team is in a good position to press for a sustainable approach, especially as most school children and teachers are very aware of these issues. In addition, environmentally sustainable features can be an educational attraction in their own right and make the building more cost effective in the long term.

For detailed guidance see the Heritage Lottery Fund Reducing Environmental Impacts guidance.

Building method and materials

Speak with your architect about how you can green your build and include the minimum environmental specifications you can accept in your brief. You can get further information about sustainable and eco-friendly new build and retrofit projects from the following organisations.


Consider how you can design and use your space to make best use of energy. Planning on using windows not light bulbs, ventilation not air conditioning, solar gain instead of heating are all options.


How do your visitors arrive at your site? Are there ways you can encourage them to use public transport, walk or cycle to you?