3rd July 2019

Last month Monodraught were pleased to present a CIBSE accredited CPD session on natural and hybrid ventilation with a specific focus on schools on behalf of our Northern Ireland distribution partners, Fairhaven H&V Services

School building & renovation programmes under pressure

The demand for places in schools continues to rise, which in turn puts pressure on planning departments to ensure that schools are able to fill these places.  Northern Ireland alone is expected to see a 9.4 per cent uplift in the number of secondary school pupils looking for a school place by 2020/21.

Northern Ireland’s Department of Education announced in May 2018 that up to £60m would be made available to 25 existing schools for much-needed accommodation upgrades.  Funding is available through the current School Enhancement Programme for projects aimed at refurbishing or extending existing buildings. (Scape)

Building programmes in schools can have the added complication of needing to minimise learning disruption and ensuring impeccable health and safety on existing school sites.  It’s important for the capacity to be flexible to allow schools and local authorities to response appropriately as actual numbers become available.

School buildings also have a requirement to apply rigorous environmental, acoustic and thermal regulations and these also need to be catered for which can be challenging when relying on traditional construction approaches. 

Indoor Air Quality & Thermal Comfort for improved classroom environment

The classroom one of the most important indoor environments for children.  CO2 is an easily measurable indicator of Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) and a good indicator of whether adequate fresh air is being supplied to the space.  Many studies have shown that a high Co2 level can contribute to problems such as lack of focus, headaches and even lower attainment so the need to regulate indoor air quality is clear.

With the recent BB101 update, Thermal comfort  has become even more prominent when looking at classroom design.  By using the correct ventilation solution, temperature and air quality can be maintained within regulation requirements. This limits the need to operate noisy, potentially distracting systems.  It can also mean that using a lower energy system can be deployed which would have a positive impact on the school budget.  A comfortable environment can also help students achieve their potential and the best possible results.

A combination of ventilation approaches depending on the room requirements

Traditionally many classrooms used natural ventilation as their primary approach i.e opening a window when the classroom felt stuffy.  This is a low cost, very environmentally friendly approach but there are some downsides, such as being in a draughty spot next to the window or even potentially drawing in harmful polluted air for schools that were near busy roads.  These days a combination of different approaches may be used for different spaces within the school depending on need, such as classrooms, IT suites and school halls or canteens.

Data has an important role to play in post-occupancy environment

Monodraught offer remote monitoring for many of our systems, which enables end users to ensure that any ventilation systems are working effectively and also drives R&D improvements based on feedback and analysis that we carry out. 

By using data to analyse system performance of Monodraught solutions at a school in England, it was possible to show that systems were keeping well within the required temperature for comfort and Co2 levels were also well-maintained. 

If you weren’t able to make the face to face session and are still interested in having this, or one of our other CPD topics delivered, then please visit our CPD pages on the website to arrange for your local Technical Consultant to deliver this training.

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