Solutions for schools

Building Schools for the Future (BSF) is the biggest-ever school buildings investment programme in the country and aims to rebuild or renew nearly every secondary school in England. It has created a unique opportunity for building consortia, specifiers and local authorities to create learning environments for children that are safe and secure, and where the buildings are easily and efficiently controlled in a low-lifetime cost, environmentally responsible manner.

While there is no such thing as a ‘one size fits all’ solution, installing and integrating the latest building automation technologies – such as environmental control, access control, security and CCTV – within schools brings new and exciting possibilities regarding building and environment management, security, safety, access control and even teaching.

Integrating a range of building control technologies onto a common network infrastructure creates a safe, secure and comfortable environment for pupils, staff and visitors, which can be monitored and controlled using an intuitive visualisation package. At the same time, it also provides significant energy savings for school governing bodies that help reduce carbon emissions and costs, and offers educational benefit to pupils too.

Building automation enables very reliable and robust control of many features of the school including security, lighting, full heating, ventilation, metering and various other elements. All of the control requirements can be connected together using a common network, allowing for a simple installation that requires just one system to be commissioned.

Understanding the real issues within education is crucial to being able to develop solutions that truly address the needs of all school stakeholders. Two major pieces of research into school safety and security have been commissioned by TAC UK in the past couple of years. The first polled teachers for their views about security and safety in schools, while the second – the results of which are due to be announced imminently – asked parents for their views on the security and safety of their children in school.

Working all hours

From the moment the caretaker arrives in the morning, through to the time when the last member of staff leaves in the evening – an integrated building automation solution can deliver the optimal learning environment for pupils. And even when the school is empty, the building systems are still working – whether that is controlling the heat or monitoring certain areas of the school and grounds for indications of unauthorised entry.

Building management systems are so intuitive and sophisticated that they can not only provide cost-effective heating tuned to the needs of pupils and staff, security solutions that integrate pupil registration with automated alerts and school meal payment options that cater for special dietary needs, but also lighting management that optimises the learning environment and delivers efficient security, and the provision of assorted data (energy usage and weather readings) that can support the teaching of various aspects of the school curriculum. 

Control and efficiency

There is a wealth of information contained in the intelligent school building that can be used to educate pupils about how eco-friendly their building is, which can be used in science or geography classes as part of the curriculum.

A web portal can potentially be viewed by visitors to the school on a screen in the reception area, for example, and also used by pupils during lesson times via the Internet or interactive white board. A whole range of data, information and password-protected functionality can potentially be viewed such as:

  • Energy consumption of the school
  • School attendance reports
  • Information from the external weather station
  • Optional CCTV camera control – to view school grounds and building perimeter
  • Information on renewable energy sources being used in the school

The option of a smart card further integrates pupils and staff into the school. These cards can be used to provide various features from e-registration, cashless vending, identity pass, library card, printing and building/room access.

A Day in the Life of a School

Scenario

Activity

Functions

1

Web portal Access from home

  • Children & parents can log on from home to check the status of school or weather report and recharge ePurse. They can also view reports on attendance, purchases etc

2

Caretaker enters school

  • Unlocks school
  • Limited light activation
  • Activates BMS
  • Occupancy set points set

3

Caretaker un-sets the alarm

  • Un-sets intruder alarm
  • Checks CCTV and unsets other zones through keypad or BMS

4

Pupil registration

  • Pupils entering class & register
  • Teacher takes e-registration
  • Text sent to parents/students for non attendance
  • Role call for fire drill – CSV or hardcopy available
  • Access info via PDA at muster point

4

Using the BMS within lessons

  • Show weather station data
  • Control energy usage, monitor meters + reduce carbon footprint

5

Break Time

  • Cashless vending

6

Lunch

  • Drill down to show allergy restriction & healthy eating options

7

AHU page

  • AHU page – fan fault, alarm on graphic
  • Raise RH value to high level

8

Lighting & Access

  • Dim lights up and down and switch off
  • Remove switches from wall and have access on white board
  • Situation in corridor or class room hit panic button – lights come on & CCTV text sent – SEN
  • Saves time looking for light switches
  • Forced door – brings up cctv & alarm

9

Panic Button

  • To address security within the classroom

10

Access Control

  • Coming to the end of the day
  • Sports hall in use by local community, so Caretaker sets zone 2 main school area

11

Web page access

  • Teachers leaving for the night – access CCTV to check route to car park

12

Access Control

  • Caretaker swipes out prior to departure, turns off lights and sets any unset zones
  • Systems checks all PIR before setting
  • School broken into overnight shows alarm activating and CCTV (Middle switch) – reset

13

Fire Alarm

  • Activation of fire alarm

14

Dashboards

  • Display of various KPI’s in a user-friendly interface, making technical data easily digestible

 

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