Two years on: Heating and hot water bills close to zero at new build primary

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Two years on: Heating and hot water bills close to zero at new build primary

Since its completion almost two years ago, Geoff Carter, Mechanical Design Engineer from Worcestershire County Council, has been monitoring the energy use at the school alongside other new build primary schools completed at a similar time in Worcestershire.

Based on findings that were taken at handover and post first year and second year occupation, Offmore Primary School has outperformed each comparable school and exceeded the new EFA Energy Efficiency Guide for new schools.

As a result, heating and hot water energy bills have plummeted to almost zero since its completion.

Speaking with Geoff at the Council in May, he goes onto explain: “The heating consumption of 27-32 kwh/m2/annum for the school is excellent. The soon to be published EFA guide for energy efficient schools target is 52, so this is a significant reduction.

“Overall, the heating and hot water bills – which includes out of hours use – stands at around £3750 per year, but with an Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) income from the woodchip boiler of £3600, net heating and hot water energy bills are now close to zero.

But with similar schools built using similar design techniques, we asked Geoff what has made the difference at Offmore?

“Offmore Primary School is a testament not only to the design and sustainable technologies incorporated, but also the build quality of the school. We haven’t used anything deemed ‘exceptional’ to achieve such performance – it is a simplistic system built well.”

The ‘system’ incorporates a range of sustainable elements, which include the division of the school into three individual zones to better its efficiency, alongside:

  • A biomass boiler;
  • Sedum roof technology;
  • High capacity drainage systems (SUDS);
  • Enhanced biodiversity;
  • Increased natural daylight
  • Increased ventilation in the classrooms when CO2 levels rise – helping pupils to focus better and enjoy a more ‘natural’ environment.

To have a properly ventilated school that is still highly energy efficient is an example of the build quality Geoff mentions.

The school itself is a one of many projects awarded to Speller Metcalfe under the West Midlands Contractor Framework. Since then the team has gone onto complete numerous BREEAM accredited schemes, which includes the highest rated BREEAM Outstanding project in the world as of May 2014, a new build depot for Western Power Distribution.

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