Sustainability at Halcyon
Halcyon takes pride in its commitment to the environment. We constantly seek new ways to mitigate our impact on the world and to educate and inspire our community to pass it forward. As a community, our philosophy is to learn through doing and this is modelled in our commitment to improve our sustainability through positive action.
The Halcyon Founders were inspired by the concept of identifying existing, under-utilised premises to further support their commitment to sustainability. The centrally located, 3-building campus of West London Synagogue (WLS) offered such an option. With their usage of the site being primarily evenings and weekends, the buildings were largely empty during school hours. Our shared-space agreement created a win-win outcome – extra funds towards WLS and the great charitable and community service work they do and a competitive rent for Halcyon with a wonderful location, sharing costs to maintain and improve the premises.
Since day one, Halcyon has sought comfortable and innovative interior design solutions with a focus on wellbeing and sustainability. From environmentally-friendly fabrics to sustainability and UK-sourced furniture, Halcyon strives for a balance between supporting our learning environment as well as the environment in general. Rooms are filled with natural light through large windows which allow the mind to contemplate the learning, while lighting and HVAC components are on timers and motion sensors to ensure we are not heating, cooling, or illuminating empty spaces! Most classrooms are equipped with air handling units to provide classrooms with filtered air throughout the day.
In order to mitigate the increasingly researched issue of pollution in our internal environments, we discovered an innovative paint company. Airlite creates a paint that reduces up to 88.8% of the pollutants in the air, creating cleaner air for staff and students to breathe, and 99.9% of moulds and bacteria, permanently preventing their growth. It eliminates bad odours from the surrounding environment as well as ensuring an excellent aesthetic performance with the application of a single coat. We are the first school in the UK to use pollution-reducing paint. This together with our existing sophisticated air filtration system makes for a lung-friendly environment especially in the middle of a large city.
“Initially we were intrigued by Airlite’s premise: a simple chemical reaction between compounds and natural light that neutralises pollutant particles in the air, absorbing odours and forming an invisible, protective film that stops dirt, mould and bacteria attaching to a wall, making it smart and easy to maintain. As student wellbeing and sustainability are core to Halcyon, it seemed to tick all the right boxes for us. In addition to being secure in the knowledge that the air in our building is now even cleaner, there were some additional benefits that have been very noticeable. It has reduced odours in the building and based on the data available, the air quality in the building has improved. By using this new technology we’ve not only invested in our school, but also in our children and our planet.”
Rita Halbright, Co-Founder of Halcyon International School and Board Trustee
For more information about Airlite, please visit www.airlite.com.
When it came to transportation to and from school as well as school trips, Halcyon saw another opportunity to reduce our community’s environmental footprint and provide an alternative learning opportunity. Students aged 11+ should know their way around London and be able to travel with confidence. Thanks to having no school bus service and conducting almost all class trips by public transport, Halcyon has been granted TfL Gold STARS Accredited School status. Our students travel to school and explore London by Tube, bus, foot, bike, scooter and more.
Our whole school is very close to being paper-free. We have an entirely electronic admissions process and administration. We only use paper when digital solutions cannot match the learning benefits of using paper, and in a limited number of marketing materials. There are still many opportunities to write by hand at Halcyon whilst we save trees every day.