The manually controlled ventilation system seems to be working well, if only because the schoolchildren happily act as mobile thermostats and draught sensors and will call for their teachers to open or close windows as required. The Teleflex controls are largely obvious as
to what they do, but in common with most installations do not have any labelling showing what they do, nor whether windows are open or closed.
The time clocks for the local 3 kW electric water heaters are located within cupboards, many of which are filled with classroom materials. Access to the time clocks is poor and have not been adjusted by the school since occupation.
Staunton-on-Wye Endowed Primary School will be subjected to a two-year building performance evaluation by the original design team, and led by the Architype and E3 Consulting Engineers, with BSRIA providing assistance with the research methods.
In addition, the research team will assess the quality of the internal environment, including the monitoring of temperature, relative humidity and carbon dioxide levels. Thermal imaging will also be carried out on specific areas of the building to assess insulation performance and air leakage paths.
The study will also measure all aspects of the efficiency of biomass boiler/plant configuration specifically the standing losses of the system, relative to the actual building demand, and determine the overall efficiency of the system. A review of hot water use could reveal whether the local timers could be adjusted to optimise delivery at times of demand.
All the incoming utility meters report back to the Trend bms, as do the submeters for the electrical distribution boards. Lighting and power is metered separately. A quick reconciliation exercise has found a 13 per cent disparity between the submeter totals and the main meter reading.
This error is just outside what might be considered allowable, and this will need to be investigated to find out whether one or more submeters are reading inaccurately, or whether an electrical load is not being metered.
The design team for Staunton have designed other schools to a low energy standard, plus the PassivHaus certified primary schools Bushbury Hill, Swillington, and Oak Meadow. These will provide useful benchmarks for the Staunton school, potentially providing an answer to the key question posed at the start: what is the real practical difference between eco-minimalist design and PassivHaus, and does the distinction matter more in theory than it does in practice?
Roderic Bunn is a building performance evaluator on the Technology Strategy Board's research programme. BSRIA will be reporting periodically on the performance of Staunton-on-Wye primary school.
BSRIA provides independent Building Performance Evaluation services for all types of buildings.
The Technology Strategy Board is a business-led executive non-departmental public body, established by the Government. Its role is to promote and support research into, and development and exploitation of, technology and innovation for the benefit of UK business, in order to increase economic growth and improve the quality of life. It is sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). T: 01793 442700 www.innovateuk.org.