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Ashmount Primary School, Islington: Sustainable school building study

Ashmount Primary School / Islington, London / Penoyre & Prasad / Completion date September 2011 / Predicted annual CO2 emissions 15.1kg/m2

This primary school is predicted to be ‘carbon-negative’, exporting energy to council housing in the neighbouring areas. The local authority brief called for zero-carbon operational emissions, and the design meets the BREEAM Outstanding rating.

A derelict site will be regenerated for the new school and nursery, a youth centre and an energy centre. The proposed school will have an in-situ concrete frame with precast floors, prefabricated timber panel walls with Warmcel insulation, triple-glazed windows and sweet chestnut cladding. Daylight factor in teaching spaces will average above 2.5 per cent.

The constrained nature of this urban site meant meeting the zero-carbon brief was something of a challenge, according to Gifford sustainability engineer Hayley Maxwell. A wind turbine was not permitted because of the site’s location on the viewing corridor between Alexandra Palace and St Paul’s; the required number of PVs was unaffordable; and biomass would have met the heating load but not the electrical demand. The only way forward was to export energy offsite, one of the recently approved ‘allowable solutions’ for reaching zero-carbon.

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