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Rednock School in Dursley, a Gloucestershire County Council pathfinder school, is undergoing a £28 million redevelopment programme to create a brand new school designed on ‘green’ lines.
The new development will be to a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ standard and the Local Authority and school governors intend to position the development as an example within the ‘Building Schools for the Future’ initiative. This will make Rednock the first school in Gloucestershire to achieve BREEAM ‘Excellent’ standard.
Built to a pioneering eco-friendly design, the state-of-the-art development will include a biomass boiler, wind turbine, grassed roof, outdoor theatre and wildflower habitat as well as use rainwater in the toilets.
The Headmaster, David Alexander, has revealed the environmental features had been included in the plans by the architect after three Year 10 students suggested them as part of a science project. The School Governors have been highly supportive of the plan to maximise on the extent to which the new school building is environmentally friendly and uses renewable energy.
The school is being redeveloped with a very large proportion of new build, amounting to total floor area of 12,800m². In fact, practically the entire school is being rebuilt on the space that was previously the school playing field, with only a music block and drama block retained from the original building and incorporated into the new development.
BIOMASS BOILER DISTRICT HEATING SYSTEM
As part of the new development, a new biomass boiler district heating system has been installed and will run underfloor heating. The old school building used electricity for heating and hot water.
An initial feasibility study carried out by Black and Veatch as part of the South West Bioheat Programme predicted that by installing a biomass boiler, the school would reduce carbon emissions by 152 tonnes a year.
Steve Christie, Business Manager at Rednock School, says: “The biomass boiler will help reduce our carbon footprint significantly. We see this as a major step forward towards creating a sustainable school building fit for the future.” Steve continues: “Our builder, Sir Robert McAlpine, looked at various options for the biomass boiler and finally decided on a Froling Turbomatic 320kW biomass boiler, supplied by Econergy.
“The boiler house and adjacent store has been built on an existing car park, where there will be good access for deliveries of woodchips. The biomass boiler was installed during the school summer holidays in 2008. Footpaths were dug up so that trenches could be laid for the new pipe work for the biomass boiler.”
WOOD FUEL FROM A LOCAL SUPPLIER
The wood fuel is being supplied by a local supplier, Woodland Improvement and Conservation, which is based in Huntley. The decision on wood fuel supplier was made following an evaluation of local fuel supply options by the South West Bioheat Programme.
Regen SW has acted as the Programme Manager for the South West Bioheat Programme, on behalf of South West of England Regional Development Agency and the Forestry Commission. Regen SW provided the project with specialist ‘project champion’ consultancy support, through a subcontract with the Centre for Sustainable Energy and Black and Veatch.
The boiler is now on the verge of being commissioned.
Steve concludes: “This is a major project with government funding and it will set a new standard for sustainable school development in Gloucestershire. The use of a biomass heating system is a key element of the school’s new energy strategy and it will provide useful learnings about the benefits of wood fuel that Gloucestershire County Council can use to help inform future roll out of biomass technology.”
For further information on biomass installations in schools, see the South West Bioheat Programme Guidance Notes.
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