Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search


New Zealand’s First Solar Powered School Opens

17 June 2014

New Zealand’s First Solar Powered School Opens

Thursday 12 June marked the opening of the Ministry of Education’s Pegasus Primary School – New Zealand’s greatest advancement in sustainable schools. It is designed to achieve a NZ Green Building Council 5 Green Star Certification, but goes much further.

Pegasus Primary School, designed by architecture firm Jasmax, is a pilot project for sustainable solutions in our community. Designed to be a ‘net zero energy school’, the building should generate as much power as it will use every year. Prime Minister John Key has described the school as “a window into the future”.

The building, completed earlier this month, is fitted with 560m2 of solar electric panels which feed electricity into the school and any excess to the national grid. The electricity is used for lighting, computers and to power the efficient air-sourced heat pumps for underfloor heating. In addition five high performance solar hot water systems provide the children and staff with warm water. The low maintenance closed-loop drain-back hot water systems are designed to last thirty years and serve utility/ toilet clusters and kitchens in each block.

The building’s design however, will not just streamline cost efficiencies and act responsibly within the local environment, it will also provide a comfortable and inspiring learning environment for its students. Roger Hornblow, Pegasus Bay School Principal, comments “These children will have a new understanding of sustainability and eco-efficiency from attending Pegasus Bay. Our Net Zero Energy school will educate our pupils and community about acting responsibly for the environment and their future. Many people say we need to leave a better planet for our children - at Pegasus Bay, we say we need to leave better more informed children for our planet.

“By living and learning in these super-efficient buildings and witnessing first-hand how they themselves are capable of monitoring their own energy requirements, the students will be savvy eco-leaders of the future.”

Hamish Boyd, Jasmax Project Principal, comments “There is pride in being cutting edge and creating a powerful identity for a school. The Ministry of Education has given us the opportunity to not only empower students, staff and parents in the environment we create for them, but also to push the boundaries of educational design and make real advancements in our sustainable approach for schools in NZ.”

About the School’s design:
Improvements have been made to the design of the building ‘envelope’ using concepts such as thicker insulation, edge of floor insulation, better glazing with excellent daylight harvesting and good airtightness, to stop energy leaks. These techniques all contribute towards reducing energy usage by a staggering 40%; from good practice 60kwhs/m2/year to global best practice 36kwh/m2/year.

The efficient building savings complement the solar electric panels to generate about $28,000 of power a year (at 18c/kwh). When the benefits of an improved indoor environment are included from the natural ventilation strategies and underfloor heating, the payback for the investment is about nine years and reduces carbon emissions of Pegasus School by nearly a 100 tonnes/year CO2(e) per year.

In addition, Pegasus School is the first primary school in the greater Christchurch region to fully embrace the modern learning environment concept. The school design is based on learning communities, which are the equivalent of three classrooms. These communities are set up in pairs with shared resource and more specialised break out spaces between. There is a well-connected central administration facility, with the Library / Student commons space linked through the entry atrium with large sliding doors to the hall, to provide a multifunctional school and community space. Initially the school will have a student roll of 450 growing to 650.


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Scoop Review Of Books: Worldly And Unworldly

"Being Magdalene" by Fleur Beale The situations shown in this youth novel are shocking, scary, and very moving as we experience Magdalene’s struggle to be a perfect girl as defined by the cruel and unreasonable leader of “The Children of the Faith”, as she moves reluctantly into young womanhood. More>>

Whistle Stop: Netball NZ To Implement New INF Rules

Netball New Zealand (NNZ) will implement the new Official Rules of Netball, as set down by the International Netball Federation (INF), from January 1, 2016. Key changes include the elimination of whistle following a goal, amendments to injury time and changes to setting a penalty. More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: Waiata Aroha

Vaughan Rapatahana on Chappy by Patricia Grace: With this eminently readable novel Patricia Grace returns to the full-length fiction stage after a hiatus of ten years. More>>

'Ithaca' At Q Theatre: Introducing NZ's World Class Cirque Troupe

NZ’s very own cirque troupe is set to become a household name with the premier of its adaptation of Homer’s Odyssey having secured a key season in Auckland. More>>

Music Awards: The Tuis Are Broody This Year

Topping off a sensationally eventful year both at home and internationally, Nelson born brother-sister duo Broods has taken home four Tuis from this year’s 50th annual Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards. More>>


Sport: Richie McCaw Retires From Rugby

Richie McCaw has today confirmed he is hanging up his boots and retiring from professional rugby. The 34-year-old All Blacks captain and most capped All Black of all time has drawn the curtain on his stunning international career which started in Dublin 14 years ago, almost to the day, and ended in London last month when he hoisted the Webb Ellis Cup aloft for the second time. More>>


John McBeth: On Jonah Lomu

For many New Zealanders, the enormity of Jonah Lomu's reputation will have come as a surprise... His deeds were watched and enthused over by movie stars and musicians, politicians and superstars from other codes. He reached into the lives and homes of millions and mixed with famous people most New Zealanders would only have read about. More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news