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An example of a Schoolhaus project

Radical energy efficiency

UK Energy Partners design and develop Schoolhaus projects - the UK's most energy efficient school buildings

Posted by Hannah Oakman | June 06, 2016 | Sustainability

Schoolhaus buildings consume very little energy, require very little maintenance and they all have A+ EPC ratings.  The focus on energy performance is achieved by 'designing in' a range of technologies: mechanical ventilation with heat recovery, solar photovoltaic roof, LED lighting, sensor activated energy management system, airtight construction and a super-insulated envelope.

Schoolhaus consumes around 45 kWh (kilowatt hours) per M² per annum as compared to DfE best practice which currently stands at 111 kWh per M² per annum. But Schoolhaus also generates around 200 kWh per M² per annum, from the integrated solar PV roof, which offsets all of its own consumption and provides free power for adjacent buildings. Consequently, the whole life energy costs of a Schoolhaus are less than zero.

Lifetime costs of the building: zero

Over the 60-year life cycle a 155 M² double classroom built to EFA best

practice will consume over 1 million kWh. With a current price of 10p per

kWh and energy inflation of 5%, this amounts to £713,000 which is more than twice the cost of the actual building.

The energy bill payer will also benefit from a government subsidy paid to encourage micro-generation of energy from renewable sources. This is an index-linked subsidy that is payable for 20 years. Although this is currently a low sum at four pence per kWh, it is still a strong return on investment when installed as part of a new build scheme. 

Schoolhaus will lower energy bills across the site but it can also provide a reputational benefit in terms of good environmental stewardship and it will improve the overall EPC rating of your whole site.  Schoolhaus buildings currently occupy 29 of the top 30 EPC rated buildings in the UK education estate.

Net zero carbon emissions

Schoolhaus has negative CO² emissions as a result of its energy performance and its solar roof which generates more energy than the building consumes. The energy that it generates is renewable and does not require the burning of fossil fuels. This leads to the avoidance of the CO² emissions normally associated with power generation, allowing Schoolhaus to make a positive contribution to the environment and climate change. By contrast, over its 60 year life cycle a 155 M² double classroom built to EFA best practice will emit 542.5 tonnes of CO² (3.5 tonnes per M²).

Ultra-low embodied carbon

Schoolhaus contains 260 kg CO²eq per M² of embodied carbon. A traditionally built structure would typically contain 800 kgCO²eq per M². The University of East Anglia’s Adapt Low Carbon Group recently completed a carbon assessment on Schoolhaus and found that it contained just over half the embodied carbon of their own flagship headquarters building which was built to the “passivhaus” standard.

Metering, monitoring and lessons in sustainability 

Every aspect of the mechanical and electrical systems of a Schoolhaus is metered and monitored as part of the Operating and Maintenance programme.  Whilst important to that programme, the information can also be of significant educational benefit and this dynamic information brings to life the whole issue of energy conservation, clean energy generation and climate change. It represents the perfect forum for teaching Sustainability.

Schoolhaus is not just another teaching space, but an inspirational learning resource with direct curriculum benefit.  UK Energy Partners can provide age appropriate lesson plans and learning materials free of charge to support this topic.


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