O’DonnellBrown – Climate Hero

Company: O’DonnellBrown

Climate Hero Name: Michael Dougall, Architect/Director

O’DonnellBrown are a creative community-driven and entrepreneurial Architecture practice. We are values-led team with a solid ethos of social and environmental responsibility. Our passion, drive and commitment energises conversations and builds relationships, enabling us to deliver inspiring outcomes across a wide variety of building types and scales.

O’DonnellBrown are matched as a Climate Hero with Abercorn Secondary School

School activity outlined below:

Session one

Space and measurement – Identify a key space within the school that the pupils can survey with Michael, teaching them how to measure and survey.

Follow up task: Use survey information to produce a section drawing through the space. The drawing will then be used as the basis to illustrate outputs from session two and session three.

Session two

Building elements – Pupils learned about the building ‘fabric’ and heat sources how certain parts contribute to heat loss and energy demand such as windows, insulation, ventilation, boilers and heating systems. Heat loss was demonstrated using a thermal imaging camera. The session was delivered in collaboration with an environmental engineer.

Follow up task: Research into what improvements could be made to the building and using survey drawings to illustrate proposed improvements.

Session three

Biodiversity sessionLooking at the schools’ external spaces and opportunities for biodiversity improvements. A demonstration was given to pupils about the benefits of rain gardens.   

Research task session – Research into what improvements could be made to the external spaces and using drawings to illustrate proposed improvements.


A group discussion around the findings from each session and to talk about a collective environmental strategy for the school.

The aim of working with a group of pupils over a number of sessions will be to illustrate the proposal for a Climate Friendly Abercorn.

Quote from Climate Hero, Michael Dougall

“The climate emergency can be a cause for anxiety amongst many young people. However, the climate hero programme has provided the opportunity for us to engage with young people on environmental matters in a positive way. We enjoyed hosting workshops with the pupils at Abercorn School which focused on the role and responsibility that an architect has in the race to net zero and importantly that collaboration is required to find the best solutions. During the workshops, we invited the pupils to review and interrogate their immediate surroundings and consider what measures could be introduced to create ‘My Sustainable Abercorn’. Workshops were themed under the headings of Retrofit, Energy Demand, and Biodiversity and a range of models, gadgets, and experiments were used to help the pupils understand and visualise the changes that are needed across the built environment to tackle climate change.”                  

School’s response to the activity

 “Thank you to Michael and all the providers that have come to the school to help our young people learn about My Climate Hero Programme”

rain task