Monodraught is A rated

Abercrombie Primary School in Chesterfield moved to a brand new site in September 2009 leaving behind a redbrick building that first opened for pupils in 1873. Among the many features purpose-designed for 220 pupils aged 3 to 11, was a Monodraught natural ventilation strategy, which was shown by  the buildings Energy Performance Certificate calculation to have made a significant contribution to the school becoming Derbyshire County Council’s first ‘A’ rated building.

The Monodraught equipment supplied includes six Windcatchers, three Sola-boost Windcatchers and three iNVent monitoring and control systems, as well as three Monovents to serve the mechanical extract systems in the kitchen and IT Departments.

Unlike older, often draughty school buildings, modern classrooms are sealed against the elements, which is why automatically controlled natural ventilation systems – regulated by rises in either temperature or CO2 levels – now play an essential role in building schools for the future. For Abercrombie Primary School, the comprehensive Monodraught strategy adopted for the new building was further enhanced by fitting Sola-boost Windcatchers for south-facing classrooms, which were identified as being prone to heat gain.

The thorough, ‘product approved’ specification was drawn up by Derbyshire County Council’s Architects and M&E departments to meet the needs of the different spaces within the school.

Natural ventilation was required to meet the air changes outlined by the Building Bulletin, and the Part L calculations identified that classrooms on the south side might need extra ventilation on very hot days. As a result, while the four north-facing Junior School classrooms were fitted with standard Windcatchers, the south-facing Reception and Infant Schools classrooms were fitted with Sola-boost Windcatchers. These innovative systems are equipped with a solar powered fan that actually increases the throughput of fresh air as heat from the sun increases, providing additional ventilation when it is most needed.

The Sola-boosts and other Monodraught equipment, which serve five classrooms, a hall, a quiet study area, an IT department and a kitchen, are linked to temperature and CO2 sensors within each of the spaces and are controlled by three Monodraught iNVent automatic control panels. In turn, the iNVent controllers are linked to the building’s BMS, enabling the natural ventilation system to be controlled from anywhere in the world.

The majority of Abercrombie School is naturally ventilated in order to provide a healthy, natural, controlled environment. As the environment in today’s classrooms has to cope with computers and other heat-gain equipment, natural ventilation makes a vital contribution to the health and wellbeing of schoolchildren and staff, by ensuring that contaminated air and heat is expelled and replaced with fresh air. As natural ventilation systems are also naturally quiet, they eliminate the noise created by mechanical ventilation and therefore, remove another possible distraction for schoolchildren.

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