Blair Gives Schwarzenegger a Lesson in Low-Carbon

Former Prime Minister and Californian Governor visit Sacred Heart Primary School

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Former Prime Minister Tony Blair, and Californian Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger visited Larmenier and Sacred Heart Primary School in Hammersmith this week.

Marking his last full day as British PM, Mr Blair earlier held a news conference with Mr Schwarzenegger before visiting the school to discuss issues of sustainability.

The two politicians agreed a deal last year to commit California and the UK to developing low-carbon economies. At the press conference, Mr Schwarzenegger said it was crucial to show leadership is influencing other countries to commit to lowering carbon emissions.

Mr Blair said, "The important thing now is that we have global agreement, we have the possibility of making progress.”

Larmenier, completed in February this year, is a shining example of sustainable design solutions used effectively to reduce carbon emissions and to raise awareness of sustainability in the minds of young people and their communities.

Studio E director Andrzej Kuszell, who designed the eco-friendly premises, presented the school to Mr Blair and Mr Schwarzenegger, as a celebration of environment and the way young children learn.

The school utilises and displays a range of environmentally-friendly design solutions: a sedum-covered roof, photovoltaic panels, natural light and ventilation throughout and a range of energy saving installations.

Mr Kuszell said, “A new school for 450 children and staff had to be provided on a landlocked site dominated by two magnificent 120 year old plane trees. The old junior school had to be demolished but the trees stayed and became a focus of the design and a symbol of the school’s ideology.

“The process was key and was about education and influencing minds for the future. Through workshops, visits, talks and projects, students were engaged at all stages of the project. They became aware of the environmental implications of buildings and shared in ideas that would make their new building really eco-friendly. Eight year old children were able to speak meaningfully on the subject of zero carbon emission buildings.”

Staff and children moved into their new school in March this year with a host of environmentally orientated projects marking the first months of occupation.

June 28, 2007