Passive approach improves efficiency

A natural approach to ventilation is helping a new €12million school create a better learning environment and simultaneously have a positive impact on carbon emissions and energy consumption.

The new two-storey Willow Park Junior School in Blackrock, designed by Coady Partnership Architects, brings the original 30+ year old facilities in line with contemporary space standards for primary schools, and with the current Department of Education & Science design guidelines which require that ventilation in the schools should, where possible, be natural.

As a result, the new building of 25 classrooms, offices, library and general purpose area are all ventilated via a Passivent natural ventilation system.

Actuators in the windows allow fresh air in, which is drawn across and through the rooms at both ground and first floor level – on the ground floor to a natural ventilation shaft to roof level, where the used internal air is vented through 14 Passivent Airstract Terminals in the roof, and the first floor to actuators in windows on the far side of the room.

The entire strategy is linked to and controlled by Passivent’s natural ventilation control system, whereby temperature and CO2 sensors in each classroom monitor the internal air quality and automatically adjust airflow to maintain preset levels. An over-ride facility gives teachers full control of opening and closing windows if they feel ventilation needs further finite alteration.

The only electrical consumption is that used by the control panel, and actuators on the windows and in the Airstracts to open and close the ventilation louvres as required.

Project architect Donal O’Donohue for Coady Partnership Architects said: “The buildings are designed to maximise the use of natural light and ventilation, with all pupil and staff areas naturally ventilated to fulfil the brief of creating an environment that optimised low energy requirements and low ongoing maintenance costs.”

A spokesman for Willow Park Junior School added: “The new building points the way to a 21st century curriculum, delivering a modern and stimulating environment.”

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