Suffolk high school creates sustainable ethos

Pakefield High School in South Lowestoft has specified cutting-edge Priva BMS technology for its brand-new £12million building, setting the standard in terms of sustainable excellence.

As the first new secondary school to be built by Suffolk County Council in over 20 years, Pakefield High School marks an important addition to the surrounding community. Phase 1 of the high-spec, environmentally friendly campus is now complete, with more than 500 students newly enrolled at the school. Purpose-built for the 21st century, the school put a premium on sustainability from the design stage right through to the long term running of the building.

“The council wanted to ensure that Pakefield High School was not only built according to low carbon, resource efficient standards, but that it could also maintain those standards throughout the school’s whole life,” comments Stuart Minns, Operations Manager at Universal Systems and Controls (USC), an Ipswich-based building management system (BMS) installer.

“As an Approved Priva Partner, we were able to knowledgably recommend the use of Priva technology, to ensure good long term energy management practices at Pakefield High School,” says Mr Minns. “The new building has been equipped with eight Priva panels, situated both indoors and outdoors, to provide optimum performance while remaining highly efficient in terms of control and power consumption.

“All the information gathered by the Priva system is easily viewed over the school IT network or over the web via the Priva WebEngine graphical interface,” comments Mr Minns. “This means that both the school’s facilities managers and other staff members are able to quickly and simply gain access to all-important energy data, which allows them to monitor and target any sources of waste or inefficiency.”

Pakefield High School has been designed to incorporate a variety of different learning spaces. The new building houses science laboratories, an art suite, a media centre, a music suite, a performance hall, and much more. However, controlling the conditions in such a wide range of different spaces demanded a high level of flexibility from the controls system.

USC’s Manager, Grant Capon explains: “The Priva system includes an Energy Centre panel, which controls a biomass boiler. Plus, there are two rooftop panels controlling the air conditioning, air handling units, and environmental conditions, such as temperature, humidity and CO2 levels. There are also remote panels throughout the school for control of under-floor heating zones.”

The school’s innovative architecture and materials also placed unique demands upon the building management system. The two wings of the building meet in a central, internal street that is covered with a roof made of the same material that covers the Eden Project in Cornwall.

“This atrium is a great space for pupils to gather, but the air pressure and climate conditions need to be carefully controlled,” comments Grant. “Fortunately, Pakefield High School knew it was using the right technology for the task, since a Priva system also controls the indoor climate of the Eden Project!”

With its dedication to energy efficiency already well established, the future looks bright for Pakefield High School and construction is now set to begin on the next two phases of the school. The intention is that the whole school will be housed in brand new, sustainable buildings by 2014, when its number of students is set to swell to 900.

Priva will be exhibiting on stand B6 at Building Controls Sandown Park

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