Outstanding lesson in energy saving

An acclaimed Hertfordshire school, with the coveted ‘outstanding’ Ofsted status, is setting the standards in energy saving and is one of the first in the UK to install a high efficiency Dimplex air source heat pump.

Sir John Lawes secondary school in Harpenden, as well as being a training school and specialist centre for science and media arts, also holds the Ofsted status of ‘Outstanding for Education for Sustainable Development’. So a high performance, low carbon heating solution was an essential feature of a new maths block building for its 1,200 students.

One of the latest Dimplex high efficiency LA 40 TU, 40kW air source heat pumps has been installed by Dimplex installer partner Azure Natural Energy Systems, to provide heating for the three new classrooms, two offices and communal area in the new building, all linked to a fully integrated energy management system.

It forms part of an on-going programme of energy savings measures which has won green awards for the school and seen a substantial improvement from G to E on the Display Energy Certificate in addition to savings of 20% on the fuel bills.

Pioneering school

Head teacher Claire Robins says: “We’re very proud to be a pioneering school and to be one of the first in the country to have this system. As well as practical energy savings, it works at many levels including our educational programme because our students are highly motivated by environmental and sustainability issues.”

A school-wide programme of energy saving measures which includes improving insulation, installing low energy light bulbs and double glazing in the main building built in the 1930s, is closely monitored.

Facilities Manager Malcolm Hills explains: “We’re working hard to improve our carbon footprint and it’s very much an on-going process as we are determined to improve our energy ratings. The new heat pump has only been running for part of a winter so far but we are expecting it to make an important contribution to our programme as it can deliver a coefficient of performance in excess of 4.0, even at low temperatures.”

Energy saving measures

The Dimplex heat pump is installed at the rear of the new school building, surrounded by a strong metal cage as a precautionary preventative barrier to any inadvertent or unwelcome tampering. In the adjacent plant room is the brains of the system which controls not only the heating but also the automatic CO2 monitoring system. This senses any rise in CO2 levels in the classrooms and adjusts the input of fresh air, ensuring the students are kept healthy and awake.

Plans for the next phase of energy saving measures are under way and include movement sensors for the lighting systems and external lamination for some of the 1960s classroom blocks to improve heat retention as well as the latest solar PV panels.

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