The government is set to approve plans to build four exemplary zero-carbon schools in each of the nine regions of England by 2016

The plan is recommended in a report by the Zero Carbon Task Force, led by architect and Cabe commissioner Robin Nicholson.

Under the proposals there would be at least one new-build and one refurbished primary and secondary school in each region.

The plan was set to be unveiled yesterday by schools secretary Ed Balls as part of a series of measures to improve schools’ sustainability. Every school in England will also be fitted with a display meter to measure energy use, under a £12m initiative.

A source close to the study said the government would go ahead with the model schools proposal, subject to funding.

It is understood that encouraging behavioural change in schools will also form a major part of the recommendations, amid concern that staff and students are not being shown how to use sustainable technologies incorporated into new buildings.