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Why sustainability is needed in schools

Photography by Scott Burrows

Photography by Scott Burrows

By Phil Jackson

With greater demands to decrease costs, and a desire to minimise environmental impact, improve efficiency and increase student learning and performance, schools are starting to recognise the need to become more sustainable.

But with many principals, boards and P&F committees balancing multiple needs, there is often a focus on short-term costs and savings, which can create more resistance around the long-term move towards greater sustainability.

To help you shift your perspective, I’ll explore three reasons why sustainability is needed in schools and how it can give your school and students a greater competitive edge.

1. Improve performance with greater comfort and air quality

Photography by Scott Burrows

Photography by Scott Burrows

While many schools install air-conditioning for the comfort of students and teachers, what most staff members and P&F committees are unaware of is that the quality of air can be dramatically affected. In air-conditioned environments more Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is present in the air, affecting the cognitive ability and learning capability of students in the classroom.

It’s a conundrum, isn’t it? We put students into classrooms and exam rooms that are air-conditioned for their comfort only to create the worst possible air quality for them to perform and compete against other schools in.

The good news is that through sustainable initiatives both the comfort and air quality of classrooms can be improved. While there are times when air-conditioning must be used, there are times when air-conditioning could be minimised through the use of a more effective passive ventilation design (like using louvres) that will allow greater fresh air and breezes through the classroom.

Do measures like this make an impact, you might ask? A study done by the United States Environmental Protection Agency that examined the costs and benefits of green schools for Washington State estimated a 15% reduction in absenteeism and a 5% increase in test scores.

2. Minimise costs and reduce inefficiency

Photography by Scott Burrows

Photography by Scott Burrows

With air-conditioning seen as a necessity, little thought or planning can go into the ongoing cost and maintenance of systems. Energy bills can skyrocket, particularly when there is little education or incentive around minimising air-conditioning use in classrooms.

By linking both passive ventilation methods and air-conditioning to both a smart (automatically switches between passive ventilation, assisted ventilation, or air-conditioning based on settings) and manually controlled system, staff and students can become more conscious of their decision to use air-conditioning within the classroom. The installation of a CO2 monitor (Australian Geographic has a weather system that measures CO2 levels) can also be a valuable teaching tool to show the air quality of each classroom when the air-conditioning is on.

Schools can further encourage more sustainable thinking through the use of incentives, offering a reward to the class who uses air-conditioning the least throughout the term.

A holistic site approach that considers the use of shading, solar power, and LED lighting can also further reduce costs.

3. Boost student engagement with different teaching environments

Photography by Scott Burrows

Photography by Scott Burrows

Photography by Scott Burrows

Photography by Scott Burrows

While children thrive in routine, even their performance can be impacted by working in the same environment all of the time. By creating outdoor classroom environments, teachers and students can venture outside when the weather allows for different learning opportunities.

This not only boosts student engagement, but it also minimises costs of lighting and air-conditioning while providing greater connection to the landscape and better working conditions.

One example of the outdoor classroom idea is the Kimberley College Flexible Learning Area we designed.

Combining adaptable indoor learning spaces with flexible outdoor spaces that are large enough for full class groups, students are given many varied opportunities for interaction, performance, collaboration and connection to nature. The feedback from these outdoor classrooms and others like it have been overwhelmingly positive, with teachers and students both saying they are a pleasure to work in.

Schools that are making sustainability part of their governance are not only reaping the benefits of minimised costs and greater student engagement and performance; they are also addressing one of our greatest social challenges by empowering the next generation to be more environmentally minded.

About the Author

Phil Jackson is a Director of Guymer Bailey Architects and has a passion for sustainable design outcomes and the integration of architecture and landscape. From conception through to construction he ensures the delivery of outstanding projects and satisfied clients through open communication and enthusiasm for every project.

Brisbane Art Show Recap

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The GBA Brisbane Studio came alive in a burst of colour for our annual Brisbane Pop Up Art Show fundraiser for Hear and Say that was held on LOUD Shirt Day, a national community initiative to raise funds so that children affected by hearing loss can live life loudly.

The annual community event showcased an incredible range of artwork created by the GBA Brisbane team and incredible local artists that included calligraphy, drawings, paintings, prints, photography, collage, glass, jewellery, sculptures and watercolours.

The art, along with live music, cheese and wine and a very special junk jam musical item from the team kept guests entertained as we raised $2,800 on the night for Hear and Say.

Phil Jackson, Director of Guymer Bailey Architects, said the Annual Art show is a proud tradition which has been running for six years.

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“Hear and Say is a wonderful not-for-profit organisation that assists children and young adults who experience hearing loss. The Annual Art show has been a proud tradition of ours to help raise much-needed funds for Hear and Say, so children and families can continue to get the highest standard of clinical care.”
— Phil Jackson, Director of Guymer Bailey Architects

Jim Green from Hear and Say who attended the event said,

“Hear and Say were delighted to be the beneficiaries of the 2018 Guymer Bailey Art Show. This unique Loud Shirt Day event is now into its sixth year and provides the perfect excuse to get dressed up in your best and brightest to support children who are deaf or hard of hearing. We would like to thank the team at Guymer Bailey and all the artists and attendees whose magnificent support has raised much-needed funds to give the gifts of sound and speech to children with hearing loss.”
— Jim Green, Hear and Say

Of course, a night like this doesn’t happen without some amazing and generous sponsors! We would like to thank the following businesses who donated our fantastic raffle prizes:

  • Corporate Information Systems (CIS) - Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8" with Toshiba 32GB MicroSD card

  • ARCPANEL - Weekend Getaway to Noosa

  • BRITEX - 2 x Premium Broncos tickets to any game and a $150 restaurant card

  • Webforge - Grandfather Solera Rare Tawny Port 20 years

  • Bondor - $100 Dymocks voucher

  • ALSPEC - $100 Indooroopilly voucher

  • CASF Surfaces - $100 BWS voucher

  • POLYFLOR - $100 Myer voucher

  • AWS - $50 Event Cinemas voucher and $50 Restaurant Choice voucher

  • KINGSPAN - $100 Gift voucher

  • ALLEGION - Schlage Sense Deadbolt

  • GWA - Clark Shower Screen Hook and a Pinot Noir

  • mLIGHT - Gourmet food hamper

  • Light and Design Group - Champagne and chocolates

Also, thanks to Zip Water for providing a shiny new Zip Hydro Tap! We can now enjoy sparkling water on tap and were able to provide our guests with a ‘plastic bottle free’ zone.

Even if you missed the Art Show, you can still donate! Click here to help children and young adults who are experiencing hearing loss continue to get the highest standard of clinical care.

For more images from our Brisbane Art Show head to our Facebook page.

MARY CAIRNCROSS | BREAKFAST WITH THE BIRDS

Elevated walkway through existing trees at Mary Cairncross (Photography: Scott Burrows)

Elevated walkway through existing trees at Mary Cairncross (Photography: Scott Burrows)

Looking for another reason to visit Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve? Why not join the Sunshine Coast chapter of Birdlife Australia for morning bird walks. The group meets at the back gate to the reserve, on alternative Saturday and Wednesday mornings.

To book tickets and to find out more visit the Sunshine Coast Council website via the link below.

CYCLE OF GIVING 2018

Raising fund for medical research, yesterday cyclists from Guymer Bailey Architects took part in the annual Cycle of Giving charity ride.

Passionate about supporting the community that supports us, and fostering a culture of sustainability and philanthropy through our organisation, Guymer Bailey supports many charities and community events throughout the year.

Team Guymer Bailey cycling towards the finish line

Team Guymer Bailey cycling towards the finish line

Pictured above, cyclists from Guymer Bailey Architects took part in the annual Cycle of Giving ride (100km), to raise funds for organ transplant research and awareness for organ donation.

At any one time, there are about 1500 Australians waiting for an organ or tissue donation to save their lives. Without medical research finding better ways to source, match and transplant organs, this list is only going to get bigger. The money that is raised for the 2018 Cycle of Giving goes towards key research organ transplant projects at The Prince Charles Hospital.

This was the fifth year that Guymer Bailey took part in the cycle - a cause very close to our hearts as we have seen first hand how Organ Donation can transform a persons life. 

Although the cycle is over, we will still be fundraising for the next couple of weeks, with every dollar making a difference. 


To find out more about the medical research at The Prince Charles Hospital - https://www.cycleofgiving.org.au/champion/2018/page?articleid=170

To find out more about Organ and Tissue Donation in Australia - https://register.donatelife.gov.au/

To learn more about the charities Guymer Bailey supports - https://www.guymerbailey.com.au/corporate-responsibility

ART SHOW RECAP

Guymer Bailey Brisbane came alive on Friday night when we once again opened our doors to clients, consultants, friends, family and the community for a night of Art. Paintings, sculptures and photography were proudly displayed by the staff who created them, along with the series of Kandinsky artworks that had been made the week prior in afternoon Art Class.

Over $1000 was raised on the night through the sale of entry and raffle tickets, donations made directly to our fundraising page and through the sale of donated artworks. All funds raised are donated directly to Hear and Say – a not-for-profit organisation that supports children with hearing loss to listen and speak so that they can attend regular school, have wider career choices and can more fully participate in their community.

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ART SHOW SPONSORS // our amazing sponsors who made Friday night possible.

Prize donations from -
Medusa Hair Studio
Kingspan
Allegion
BONDOR
LIGHT AND DESIGN GROUP
Sassi at Toowong
MJS Floorcoverings
Enware Australia Pty Ltd
ALAN INNES

And to those who donated directly to our Everyday Hero page for Hear and Say -
Greg Killen – Greg Killen Consulting Engineers
Cameron Gorrie – Building Certifiers Australia
Greg Hamilton – Hdesign
Nerada Spellacy – Guymer Bailey Architects
Suzanne Goodson – Guymer Bailey Architects
Chris Collins – Taking Shape, Toowong