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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
Green Building Bible, fourth edition (both books)
These two books are the perfect starting place to help you get to grips with one of the most vitally important aspects of our society - our homes and living environment.

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    • CommentTimeJan 25th 2014
    From a teachers perspective smaller classes are preferable to anything else (being an ex teacher I know how much easier it is).
    So rather than loads of complicated technology, just build a place that is simple, energy efficient, uses technology to generate power, reduce technology that uses power, get rid of all the distractions (fancy 'coloured' lighting sounds like something an educationalist would dream up) and don't forget what a school is for. It is a factory for minimum education standards and buck passing.
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeJan 25th 2014
    We looked at a lot of schools (>6) for our kids. Many seemed to have grown or been extended by the addition of classrooms or other buildings without much thought to how people move between them eg you have to go outside. Some would say that's not a bad idea but imagine the heat loss of a house if you had to go outside to get between all the rooms. I'm not convinced Airlock doors work when you have a large group of students going through them - both doors are open.

    You also need to think about disabled access if any buildings are on more than one floor.

    Got to have solar PV roofs I would think.
    • CommentAuthorJonti
    • CommentTimeJan 25th 2014

    I think the following would be a starter.

    1. Good internal natural light in all areas
    2. Even temperature maintained in all weather.
    3. Good internal/external noise reductions
    4. flexibility in the work area space for diverse function.
    5. Minimal external distraction for working area.
    6. Ease of movement around the complex
    7. Dry movement around the complex
    8. Good control of entry/exit points from the complex

    much of this has already been mentioned in earlier posts

    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeJan 25th 2014
    thanks like them

    anyone want to add to the don't wants, i thought of internal rainwater pipes
    Agree re internal RWPs, and probably soil pipes too. Keep them out where possible.

    Avoid unnecessary roof lights in flat or shallow-pitched roofs. Of course we all know they *can* be detailed properly, but they frequently are not. My kids' junior school had a mainly flat roof and occasional ''sticky-up dormers'' on shallow-pitched parts, with the cills almost at flat roof level. Blocked (internal) fall-pipes led to a pond and over-topping of the meagre upstand on the 'dormers'. Regular floods. Same issue on 'proper' flat-roof-roof-lights'.
    • CommentAuthormarkocosic
    • CommentTimeJan 25th 2014
    "Agree re internal RWPs, and probably soil pipes too. Keep them out where possible."

    External soil pipes freeze: not clever in any application.

    External pipes = climbing frames: preferable not to have them in a school building from a maintenance standpoint. Make sure that the roof can drain freely even when they're blocked though (just overtops the edges of the roof, not pouring in via roof penetrations)

    "How much control should teachers would be allowed over the learning environment in their classrooms?"

    The building ought not to rely on teachers opening and closing windows AND it being cold outside in order to maintain acceptable CO2 concentrations. Lots of bodies in a small space fall asleep as they quietly gas themselves with CO2: levels of 2,000-4,000 ppm half an hour into lessons after a lunchbreak aren't uncommon. Less of a problem in nice large and draughty old schools that aren't overcrowded.

    Scientists will get this - it's basic biology/physics/chemistry - and if they don't they ought not to be teaching. It's less likely that other disciplines will understand what's going on.

    Comfort conditioning is better than allowing free choice but only if you get it right. Maintain 20-22C and 45-55% RH at "all" times without excessive air currents. Within that you can wear a jumper or install a desk fan to modify the perceived temperature easily enough. There are menopausal teachers that prefer the ability to crank TRVs up to 11 or throw windows wide open but this does the children no favours. A lot of so called "comfort conditioning" fails on air currents and CO2 levels.
    Markocosic, I am obviously lucky - I have never had a soil pipe freeze. Note also that I did not say they cannot be boxed - I'd just like them to leak outside rather than inside if they do leak.
    • CommentAuthormarkocosic
    • CommentTimeJan 25th 2014
    They caused no end of trouble up north in winter 2010 - ask Google. Some folks were even so silly as to run external boiler condensate drains too. ;-)

    Leaking toilets, feeding rainwater into the soil stack, and cast iron pipes are the worst offenders. People from countries with real winters generally LOL at our outdoor plumbing arrangements though!

    Boxing is good if said boxing is insulated. I'd still prefer to see all unheated services to run within the building envelope though.

    Do soil stacks leak regularly? What causes it?

    Another question - how is the build to be funded (or is this a speculative masterplan)?

    If it's the standard central government route then it will most likely be using their (Design & Build) contracts which will mean you'll be fighting harder to get anything better than current Building Regs in terms of energy performance.

    Not a big deal if you've got the legal clout to make sure the contracts are built around meeting PH performance, but I've repeatedly found that during the 'value engineering' phase that seems to be standard these days, a school will always prioritise teaching space over energy performance if they are forced to make a choice.

    The more experienced PH school architects out there (Architype have already been mentioned) would probably have the arguments to point out that it doesn't need to cost any more than a standard build, however I'm not sure I've seen a certified PH school that's been built as D&B in this country yet...
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeJan 26th 2014
    Mine interest is for additional buildings at a private school
    • CommentAuthorwoodgnome
    • CommentTimeJan 28th 2014
    Google " Devon Eco school problems"....
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeJun 17th 2014
    What questions do you think I should ask our building physics consultants?
    1. Ventilation Strategy
    Biggest question (in terms of knock-on effects). You'll probably want a structural engineer on hand too as this decision can also govern floor to ceiling heights and you can have the usual debate over concrete vs. steel vs. timber frame. Aside from the thermal mass argument, frame choice will also influence structural bays and therefore how much uninterrupted window opening you can get per classroom.

    2. Ceiling vs. Soffit
    Assuming you adopt some form of heat recovery you then need to understand where the supply and extract ducts are running. This will likely need an acoustician's input on noise transfer between classrooms and circulation which should open up a conversation around attenuated bulkheads (corridor side or classroom side), and exposed soffit (and exposed services) with acoustic baffles vs. suspended ceiling (yuk). NOTE: this usually brings the topic back to frame choice as the structural soffit would be on show (CLT looks good, pre-cast planks need attention to avoid untidy edges, trapezoidal steel deck always looks like a retail shed).

    3.Daylight factor
    Natural ventilation proportions tend to work well with natural daylight requirements in terms of room depth but if you end up at MVHR you might find you need to explore the 'daylight autonomy' argument to avoid deep plan spaces. Structural soffit colour (natural vs. paint) could also influence reflected light levels.

    4. Night-purging
    If it's a private school I'm assuming it's on a nice remote secure site and you can look into night-time purging to pre-cool the building before school starts. This has its own implications in terms of automated BMS systems (simpler the operation the better) vs a diligent 'estates manager' (janitor) opening some high-level windows whilst locking up. Oh and mosquito/pigeon ingress...

    5. Waste Heat
    On a more leftfield tack, how about using the school swimming pool as a thermal store? (private school right?- they must have one!)

    That's all I can think of for now.
    Points that Thomas has made I can echo - we have a brand new very well insulated school with all the green gubbins that looks great on paper. Nobody thinks enough about points 1 and 2 in particular - kitchens with one tiny opening window and no manual fan control. Extract and supply ducts that are placed and have to run that loudly that teachers have to raise their voices and are hoarse trying to get the kids to hear over the noise of them. Same in the science labs but even worse when 1 lab didn't have ANY opening windows and no manual way to turn on/up the extract for the mvhr system.
    There is no such subject as Science.
    An excuse for Biologists (aka fornicating Frog counters) to camoflage themselves among the Chemists and Physists.
    Def do not want "pods", for a while I got the distinct impression they were an obligitary installation in schools.

    I too cannot understand the need to feed Architects ego's and bank balances with unique/cutting edge be-spoke designs for each and every site.

    Which will probably be defective and neglected and get a clat from a digger in 20 or 30 years.

    However I do appreciate that some spaces simply "work" and others dont, how much though is down to good design, as against serindipity?

    Our 1960's (by the look of it) local Primary school is bright, airy and spotless and an absolute pleasure to be in, which is simply more to do with ALL the staff, both ancillaries and teachers, than the building structure itself..

    Consider, on going/long term
    G, M &Twitch
    • CommentTimeJun 17th 2014
    Posted By: orangemannotThere is no such subject as Science.

    "All science is either physics or stamp collecting" (http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Ernest_Rutherford)

    An excuse for Biologists (aka fornicating Frog counters) to camoflage themselves among the Chemists and Physists.

    These days some of the best biologists *are* physicists (as are some of the best chemists ...)
    tee hee
    Senior Managment was quare an fond of quoting that first statement as attributed to Rutherford.
    Her being an Astrophysist, and from St. Andrews/Old Hall too.
    There was apparently a bit o in-breeding in our family tree so I needed to freshen up the blood-line!
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeJul 9th 2014
    Now we are interviewing building physicists
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