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New sustainable school to give children a safe and stimulating environment

Photo: Lars Becher

​Recycled bricks and solar panels are reducing the CO₂ footprint of a new school building in the City of Aarhus in Denmark. A good indoor climate, high energy efficiency and plenty of room for movement are the cornerstones of the whole school design.

A 360-degree sustainability model at the start of the project has helped to determine the optimal relative weighting of environmental, social and financial factors for the brand-new school, Frederiksbjerg Skole, in the City of Aarhus. The school has just opened its doors to 980 children and young people aged 0 to 18.

Among other things, the chosen focus on resources and energy means that facades have been made of recycled materials. For example, bricks from a previous school were cleaned up and reused in the new building.

”This method significantly reduces the CO2 footprint of the building, because brick production is very energy-intensive compared to the cleaning process. Moreover, low-energy lighting has been installed  everywhere along with solar panels on the roof, which together bring the energy needs down below the requirement for energy class 2020,” explains Market Director Lars Becher from COWI, who was the principal consultant for this complex project owned by the Municipality of Aarhus.

Focus on indoor climate and movement

Another key element of the sustainability model is the indoor climate.

“Children simply learn more if the indoor climate is right. That is one reason why it was important to consider the indoor climate when we were choosing materials,” says Lars Becher.

The project is the first newly-built folkeskole (public school) where the requirements of the new national school reform have been incorporated from the outset. It was essential to provide the new facilities to reflect the teaching and learning needs, so exercise was a central issue throughout:

“It was absolutely vital to address the development of educational concepts towards flexible transitions between different developmental stages and integrating the associated setting for children and young people across the whole 0-18 age range within the building,” Lars explains.

One setting from kindergarten children to adults

The striking school building is intended to provide a stimulating and safe setting for children and young people in Aarhus all the way from nursery and kindergarten to school and leisure activities.

The day care children have their own facilities with a screened-off playground and equipment to match their development from age 0 to 6. Early years, intermediate and secondary levels each have their own floors - and after-school clubs and continuation school provide the young people with activities and good company in dedicated facilities.

The aim is to make the transitions easier for the children, support their functional development and ensure that they are all part of social communities.

There are also bright new exercise and dance studios, workshops, gamer rooms and outdoor areas with exercise stations, all-purpose courts and enclosures with rabbits, birds and goats.

PUBLISHED: 31.08.2016


​The Frederiksbjerg School project started in 2014 and includes a four-track school with approx. 980 pupils, a kindergarten for 60 children, facilities for health care, after-school clubs, an educational playground and outdoor areas for institutions and local residents.
The building covers 16,400 m2 in energy class 2020.

LAST UPDATED: 21.07.2017