A recent report by Scape, a public sector owned built environment specialist, has estimated that as many as 1,600 new primary schools will need to be built by 2024 in order to accommodate Britain’s rising young population.
In fact, even by 2019, the report expects the amount of primary school pupils to rise from 4,376,000 to 4,658,000. London alone will require 2,600 extra 30-pupil classrooms by 2020. And all this in a country where parents already struggle to place their children into their ideal schools.
It goes without saying, there is a lot of work to be done.
But whilst it might seem daunting for the educational boards and contractors tasked with designing and constructing (and of course, financing) these schools, in fact it is a fantastic opportunity to future-proof an entire generation of educational establishments.
Embracing the Future of Schools
There is great value in building sustainable schools – in terms of social responsibility, environmental responsibility and in order to significantly lower the life time operating costs of the building.
It might be the use of more sustainable building materials. Perhaps a focus on products and systems that prevent schools from overusing energy to heat and power the building – and thus increasing lifetime costs.
The issue I want to touch on here, however, leans towards the social responsibility – Indoor Air Quality (IAQ). We should all be conscious of the learning environments that the future generations are being taught in. Why? Approximately 10 million students in the UK spend around a third of their formative years at school – around 70% of that time is spent indoors.
IAQ has long been a detrimental factor in students’ performance levels, impacting concentration levels, behaviour and general well-being. Now, with the opportunity to perfect how we construct these crucial learning environments, excessive CO₂ in the classroom need not be a problem.
Demand Controlled Ventilation
New technologies will of course be a major factor in improving the overall quality of new schools. In terms of IAQ, technologies like Demand Controlled Ventilation not only controls CO₂ levels, but can also provide night purging to cool the building during the evenings.
Once the sensors are triggered, the system automatically introduce a flow of fresh air into the room, as well as exhausting the air contaminated by CO₂. Because fresh air is only vented when and at the rate required (hence ‘Demand Controlled’), DCV can be as much as 23% more efficient than fixed rate ventilation practices, such as opening windows or constant volume ventilation units.
It stretches beyond IAQ too. Ventilation solutions are a major factor in buildings in achieving BREEAM status, which is something every newly specified building should aspire too. With DCV, such as Jaga’s Oxygen system, the ventilation system is built into the radiators in order for the temperature/ventilation balance to be operating at maximum efficiency at all times.
Both heating and ventilation is regulated, and children reap the benefits of greatly improved air quality. It is a struggle to find a downside.
To learn more about Jaga Oxygen DCV, visit www.jaga.co.uk/technology/oxygen/.
Find out exactly how Jaga products helped some of these other schools upgrade to demand controlled ventilation systems:
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