Waimea College

Teaching in timber: Tackling the carbon challenge in schools

Timber can be flexible, attractive and most importantly sustainable when used in the right way. Which is why it was the perfect choice for building the stylish new teaching block at Waimea College, Nelson.

Located just south of Nelson, Waimea College, one of the South Island’s biggest schools, was running out of space for new students. The solution to this problem? A new eight classroom teaching block presenting an exciting opportunity to use timber frames instead of the standard steel materials.

Working alongside both Sheppard & Rout and Arthouse Architects, our buildings team designed the teaching block with seismic resilience and functionality in mind, with support from the Ministry of Education client team.

Local, sustainably sourced laminated veneer lumber (LVL) beams, LVL and ply hybrid walls and potius timber floors are features of our novel approach, which has completely removed the use of superstructure concrete.

This move to timber means the completed teaching block has sequestered 82 tonnes of CO2e emissions from the atmosphere and a further 190 tonnes of CO2e avoided throughout the construction process. That's a total carbon saving of 270 tonnes - equivalent to 110,000 school drops offs.

It’s going to take concerted efforts and clever ideas to future proof our built environment for a carbon constrained world. And Waimea College represents a new way forward for Australasian schools in meeting this challenge.

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270 tonnes

CO2e saved


Equivalent drop-offs avoided


New classrooms

Our Team Says

Schools are all about investing in the future. It’s great to provide a building that does its bit to make that future more sustainable.

Jared Keen,

Technical Director - Structural Engineering

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