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Schoolchildren’s View of Haslemere in 2030?

Winning Exhibit in Transition Haslemere Competition

What will a sustainable Haslemere look like in 2030?

This is a question that Transition Haslemere asked of pupils at Camelsdale School recently. Their response was encouragingly optimistic. The children built a model of how they thought their school would look in 20 years time. he cardboard model, which is now on show at Haslemere Museum, shows a variety of measures the children think could be put in place over that time. These include triple-glazed windows, thick ceiling insulation and a ‘green roof’ planted with sedum and wildflowers. Water butts collect rainwater for irrigating the school’s vegetable garden, which supplies the kitchen for healthy school dinners. Compost bins recycle waste. 

 here are solar panels on the school roof for water heating and in the corner of the grounds stands a wind turbine. Now it may turn out that the school is not well sited for a wind turbine but there is no doubt that Camelsdale School and other buildings in Haslemere will need to shift to more renewable sources of energy over the next 20 years, and where possible, local sources. 

The children’s model of the future is not one of austerity and gloom. Instead, it gives a picture of a thriving and more self-sufficient institution. By growing its own vegetables, the school will not only lower its carbon footprint, but save money and provide an outdoor classroom for biology and ecology lessons.The children’s proposals are also notable for their practicality. In fact, the model sets an example of things that many of us can start to do in our own homes. However, when we look at things like insulation, double glazing and solar panels we are faced with a number of questions. Given that most of us have limited time and budgets, what should be our priorities? Which will cut our energy bills the most? How long will loft insulation take to pay for itself compared with double glazing? Solar panels look like a good idea for heating water, but are they a good idea for generating electricity? What will have the most impact on our carbon footprint? 

Local engineer Sandy Polack has made a detailed study of these issues and answered these questions and others in a talk titled “Cost-effective ways to reduce your carbon footprint”. You can see his presentation here and read his article here.

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