Walters & Cohen won this RIBA-run design competition that provided an opportunity to think creatively about how to achieve greater environmental and community sustainability in education buildings. We worked closely with Max Fordham LLP, services engineers at the forefront of sustainable design in schools, with whom we have a longstanding and creative working relationship. The environmental strategy for the school building was to:
- ensure that natural light is adequate to avoid the need for electricity except when the sun is below the horizon;
- minimise winter heat loss by making an airtight,
- reduce heat loss at night by providing insulated blinds to close over the glazed areas;
- gain solar heat at the south façade and to provide hot water from solar roof panels;
- prevent summer overheating by use of the reflecting insulating blinds and night-time ventilation;
- provide base load electricity using combined heat and power (CHP) to meet 70% of the heat demand, and extend the hours of use so that the housing proposed for the site may also use CHP.
The design provides a stimulating, safe and comfortable school environment.