Camphill School Aberdeen’s capital appeal is building a greener future

February 22, 2024

Camphill School Aberdeen has been at the forefront of sustainability for over 80 years. So, when it came to planning the construction of phase one of our capital appeal, it was important for this ethos to be reflected.  

Building Futures, Transforming Lives 
Phase one of our Building Futures, Transforming Lives campaign includes our new 11-bedroom residential home and the development of Murtle Market, our sustainable social enterprise. Murtle Market will showcase local seasonal organic produce, zero waste principles, our heritage, and sustainable arts and crafts made by our students. The core purpose of Murtle Market is skills development and work experience for young people with complex additional support needs and learning disabilities. 

Sustainable construction of Murtle Market 
We are transforming the old bookshop at the entrance to our Murtle Estate on North Deeside Road into the market – which will open later this year. It was important to us that the design and build kept our carbon footprint to a minimum. The original part of the building is also over 100 years old, so we have a duty to retain the building and the history that comes with it. 

Before image of the bookshop Murtle Market will replace.

We looked for opportunities to reuse or recycle materials to minimise our environmental impact at every stage of the build. By retaining and expanding the old bookshop for Murtle Market we instantly saved approximately 50% of the carbon that would have been produced by demolishing the building and constructing a new one. Reused granite stones were utilised for the Murtle Market extension alongside an insulation made from recycled timber shavings which is both environmentally friendly and poses no risk while working with it. The previous extension on the building, which was demolished, had a Welsh slate roof which has been set aside to be used for repairs elsewhere on the estate. 

The construction of Murtle Market’s extension was also designed using natural materials that are breathable to promote a healthy internal environment. This includes the innovative magnesium oxide sheathing, which provides the required fire-rated properties for the building. 


Image of the construction of Murtle Market.


Murtle Market will be sustainable inside and out 
Our sustainable practices can be seen throughout Murtle Market not just in the expansion and redevelopment of the building. We use electric cargo bikes to transport goods from FRUVER, soon to be part of Murtle Market, to buildings and the 10 residential homes on our estates. Murtle Market also recently received funding from the Just Transition Participatory Budgeting Fund to purchase an electric delivery van which will be used for deliveries from Murtle Market when it opens. The use of electric vehicles allows us to reduce our carbon emissions. 

We also maintain gardens and farms over our three estates which use organic and biodynamic practices. The gardens produce seasonal fruit and vegetables all while helping develop the skills and confidence of our young people who work on them. This organic seasonal produce will be sold to the public in Murtle Market. By purchasing locally-grown produce, you are reducing the environmental impact associated with food miles. 

Sustainable construction of the new residential home  


 Before images of the site of the new residential home.


The new residential home conforms to Passivhaus Standards (an energy efficiency standard), meaning it is more insulated than a typical UK home, features triple-glazed windows and has impressive airtightness levels. On top of this, the building goes beyond net zero with air source heat pumps, mechanical heat recovery, and solar panels going beyond net zero. This helps to improve energy efficiency during the colder months – which is a must in Scotland! There will also be electric vehicle charging stations available in the house’s carpark.  


 Image of the construction of the new residential home. 


The new residential home has been designed by award-winning Glasgow architects - Collective Architecture - who worked with Camphill’s young people to create a home that will be environmentally sustainable and fully accessible. The young people also helped to design the branding for Murtle Market. As our capital appeal is about expanding and improving our facilities to ensure we can provide our young people with the highest level of care, it was important to ensure that they were as involved in the designing phase as possible. 

Murtle Market is due to open to the public in summer 2024 and will sell seasonal organic produce from our walled gardens, refillable products, and arts and crafts made by the young people whilst showcasing the school's rich history. Construction of the residential home will be completed in winter 2024.  

Architect impressions of completed residential home and Murtle Market. 


Find out more about our capital appeal or donate, here.


Back to all news