Willmott Dixon has been appointed by the London Borough of Islington for a £13m contract to create one of the first ever zero carbon schools in the UK.

The project called Crouch Hill Community Park, which starts on site in late February, will see Willmott Dixon provide new accommodation for Ashmount Primary School and Bowlers Nursery, along with a new community energy centre and a refurbished building for the CAPE Youth Centre within newly designed and improved Metropolitan parkland.

The new development will have a carbon negative footprint when in use. This will be achieved by the school sharing heat distribution from the new energy centre with adjacent housing, a shared approach to community energy distribution that is a glimpse of how low and zero carbon buildings can be delivered on future UK developments

The energy centre, also built within the parkland, will use a biomass boiler and gas fired Combined Heat and Power (CHP) unit to provide the school’s heat and power needs, while exporting excess heat to the adjacent Coleman Mansions housing development owned by Homes for Islington. The school’s use of passive measures to reduce energy consumption further reduces its carbon footprint.

By creating an energy facility that allows the school to share heat with Coleman Mansions, Ashmount Primary School will truly have a carbon negative footprint, making the school ‘zero carbon in use’.

Willmott Dixon is working with a design team comprising of Penoyre and Prasad, AKT, Gifford and Whitelaw Turkington. The school’s ‘zero carbon’ credentials will also see it achieve a BREEAM rating of Outstanding and it will be completed in summer of 2012.

George Martin, director of Willmott Dixon’s in-house low carbon consultancy, Re-Thinking, said, “As we work towards creating new buildings from 2016 that make no net carbon emissions, the new school at Crouch Hill Community Park will provide our industry with an important learning tool for a community-wide approach to low carbon energy that can be refined and developed on future schemes.

“I praise London Borough of Islington for having the foresight and imagination to make this project happen and we have assembled a very experienced team to deliver it successfully.”