projectEssex Schools BSF

locationEssex, UK


Desco was appointed from bid stage through to subsequent detail M&E building services design, with particular responsibility for sustainable design and low carbon and renewable energies, for this Building Schools for the Future programme which comprised the construction of two new build 1200 pupil secondary schools and the refurbishment of a third providing the entire secondary teaching provision for Canvey Island and two new SEN schools in the Chelmsford area. All schools included provision for adult education.

The key challenge for the design team, and particularly Desco, was to deliver four schools that were holistically sustainable whilst delivering optimal internal conditions without compromising educational aspirations and budget constraints. Further challenges existed with the SEN schools to ensure the environment was enhanced to meet the specific needs of the students. Desco drove the sustainability agenda throughout the project ensuring that all members of the design teams subscribed wherever possible to the ‘energy hierarchy’ approach whereby passive solutions take the priority, to ensure that the fundamental building design minimises consumption of natural resources, whilst providing an optimum internal environment. Early thermal and daylight modelling ensured that the correct early design decisions were taken by the whole team and a thorough analysis of sustainable LZC technologies and renewable energy sources ensured that the correct M&E strategy was adopted to meet stringent targets. All schools were delivered to BREEAM ‘excellent’ standards. The further target of 60% reduction on CO2 emissions was met by careful adoption of the energy hierarchy and the development of a biomass network within the local area. Technologies implemented were biomass heating, combined heat and power and air source heat pumps. IES thermal modelling was used extensively to prioritise environmental measures which resulted in the adoption of passive measures such as green and brown roofs, architectural solar shading, heavyweight construction and natural ventilation.

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