WORK has started to install £6m worth of green technology at a secondary school.

Solar panels and ground source heating pumps are among the energy-saving measures to be incorporated into a £30m rebuild of Richmond School, which is due for completion in 2010.

The environmentally-friendly package, which is being funded by the Government's Building Schools for the Future programme, will reduce the school's carbon footprint.

Airedale Mechanical and Electrical is working alongside main contractors Shepherd Construction to install solar panels, which will generate electricity for the school buildings.

The amount of energy consumed in heating and cooling the premises will be reduced by a combination of the solar panels and ground source heat pumps.

The pumps derive energy from the earth, which remains at a fairly constant temperature throughout the year.

By pumping liquid through buried pipes and then passing the liquid through heat exchangers, the system delivers a 25 per cent boost to heating or cooling power.

The result is that, for every three watts of electrical pumping power in, four watts of heating or cooling power is provided.

The school will also have biomass heating, natural ventilation, automatic lighting and zoned heating.

North Yorkshire County Council says the school will be a national showcase and a pattern for new campuses across the UK.

Headteacher Phil Beever said: "At least 20 per cent of the school's energy will be from sustainable sources and we are looking at having a wind turbine as a trial to see how that might help.

"It will be fantastic for students who are looking at sustainability and carbon footprint.

They will be living it as well as being educated in it."

Mark Nelson, chairman of Leeds-based Airedale, said: "It is only by embracing emerging techniques like those we are using at Richmond School, then working with clients and contractors to apply them, that we have been able to grow our company from a £500,000 enterprise 12 years ago, into the £35m business it is today."