Technological innovation helps create an ‘outstanding’ sustainable learning environment

The eight schools that comprise the Midlands batch of construction under the Priority Schools Building Programme (PSBP) will deliver ‘state of the art’ facilities- right through to their ventilation.

Carillion has secured the contract to design, construct and maintain the schools for the Education Funding Agency (EFA), using M&E consultant Aecom and contractor Dodd Group to address the building services. Engineering expertise from leading air movement specialist Gilberts Blackpool has enabled the team to deliver a bespoke strategy that addresses the issues and considerations raised in the EFA’s ventilation specification for PSBP.

Thus, Gilberts’ innovative roof-mounted hybrid Mistrale Fusion System (MFS-VN) has been integrated into specially-designed roof turrets, to provide stack ventilation to the open areas (sports hall, dining area) of each of the schools. Each turret comprises 2 x MFS128 fusion units, topped with mechanically-operated intake and extract louvres, with airflow regulated by integrated dampers.

Explained a spokesman for Aecom,“The EFA ventilation specification for the PSBP now precludes the use of purely natural roof turrets, because of the need to avoid draughts in winter. This meant we felt a hybrid system was required. Dodd Group, BSD and Gilberts worked together to develop the final solution, which balances thermal comfort with air quality and energy efficiency, in a roof turret.”

Adds James Gordon, Gilberts’ natural ventilation sales director”

“Our MFS is unique in that, in one box, without additional ducting, wiring etc, we deliver a hybrid natural ventilation-based solution for multi-occupancy rooms. Because we are unique in having the in-house capability to design and test bespoke solutions, we were able develop a tailored answer for the Midlands PSBP that would meet all the ventilation requirements, and be efficient and simple to install, and cost-effective to run.”

Gilberts MFS is available in standard through-wall and through-window solution, with a VN turret version suitable for roof-mounting. The single-sided through-structure unit provides a one box, stand-alone solution, requiring no additional ductwork or plant.

MFS mixes internal and external air to ventilate the internal space. A mixing damper within modulates airflow to allow the new, fresh air to mix with the warm exhaust air, thus extracting its heat without the need for an exchanger. The integrated low energy fan energises to blend the internal air, ensuring an even distribution of airflow, with control over temperature and CO2 levels within, and maintenance of a comfortable internal environment for occupants.

Just 2 no Mistrale MFS128 single-sided units will ventilate a standard 32 person classroom, achieving the 8litres/sec/person fresh air required by current Department of Education Building Bulletin (BB101) and PBSP guidelines- all for less than £5/room/annum (fan costs at current 2016 electricity rates).

MFS derivations include a 256 version (delivering the ventilation requirement for a single classroom in just one unit), or a high boost version providing 550 l/sec to enable excess heat and pollution purging in high heat zones such as IT Suites, and a heat boost that potentially can eliminate the need for supplementary heating eg radiators.

Each unit also achieves relevant acoustic considerations: its operational ‘noise’ is less than 30dbA, and it has been engineered to absorb external noise to keep within the classroom criteria required by BB93.

Gilberts has further taken care to attain compliance with Building Regulations Approved Document L: MFS attains air leakage better than legislative requirements- 5m3/HR/m2, and a U value of 1W/m2/°C.

Founded 50+ years ago, privately owned Gilberts is unique in having its own, on-site (85,000ft2) manufacturing facility, producing engineered solutions, with an in-house test centre. Technical expertise is supported by full in-house testing, and CFD (computational fluid dynamics) simulation capability.