Education and green roofs have always interested me. I used to run learning sessions in schools while I was getting involved with green roofs and I was always amazed how schools that had green roofs made no link to the core activity of an education establishment; teaching and learning.
Green roofs and education – more than sustainability
Making green roofs accessible provides pupils and teachers with the opportunity to engage with science subjects on the roof itself. Most green roofs on schools are used only as a means of ticking the green sustainable box. However, their potential as outdoor classrooms – where biology, geography and physics can be taught – is enormous.
Tormead School Guildford
I was fortunate enough to be able to design a series of green roofs for Tormead School in Guildfordthrough my work with The Green Infrastructure Consultancy.. The lower roof has access for teachers and pupils. I visited the green roof last week. I also met the head of geography who runs the school eco-club. He asked if he could film me talking about the roof so he could share it with the students. In the video, I talk about the various benefits of green roofs and how these could be integrated with the curriculum.
There are now plans for the school to slowly develop a programme to use the green roof as an education facility.
Schools green roofs and education
I hope that architects and the schools themselves recognise that allowing access and designing green roofs can provide a real resource for the school as well as helping the buildings themselves score highly in BREEAM (Code for sustainable homes). Sadly, most architects see the green roof as just another surface to specify.
I would love to hear from anyone thinking of having a green roof installed on a school. Don’t just tick the box and miss the opportunity to do something really special and meaningful.