Project: Ridge Primary School and Gig Mill School
Client: Dudley Council
Main contractor: Castle Property Contracting Ltd
Architect: Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council – Corporate Landlord Services
Installer: Prestige Windows Ltd
Sealed unit supplier: Energy Saving Glass
Research shows that a comfortable temperature is vital to optimise students’ ability to learn. On average, a school year that’s hotter by 1°F (0.56°C) correlates to a loss of 1% of a year's learning, according to one study.
Heating and cooling systems are often used to create optimal learning conditions. But for two schools in the West Midlands, Dudley Council required a solution that could create a cool and comfortable learning environment without adding to energy bills.
To meet the assignment, the council commissioned Prestige Windows Ltd to replace 380 m² of glazing across Ridge Primary School and Gig Mill Primary School with Pilkington Suncool™ 70/35 solar control glass, which keeps buildings a comfortable temperature without compromising on natural light.
In the warmer months, Pilkington Suncool™ 70/35 helps to prevent overheating by reflecting the sun’s heat, making it suited to glazing on east, south or west elevations, which are most exposed to the sun in the UK. When winter arrives, the thermal insulation properties of the specialist glass help to keep heat in, with a Ug-value of 1.0 W/m²K.
The glass prevents solar heat gain while still allowing for a very high level of light transmittance, with natural light exposure also found to have a significant impact on learning.
A textbook example
The window replacement work was carried out in areas of the schools that are most at risk of overheating.
The solar control glass was installed in Ridge Primary School’s assembly hall, entrance corridor, offices, staff room and ICT suite – totalling 110 m² of glass.
More than 180 m² of Pilkington Suncool™ glass was also used at Gig Mill School, replacing glass in the nursery, corridors, and toilets, with careful attention taken in reducing the amount of sun glare experienced by the young nursery pupils.
The changes to both schools were made as part of replacement work to existing areas. As such, great care was taken to ensure a like for like offering was made to match the aesthetics of a previous window replacement scheme and to avoid clashes with the existing elements. There was also focus on bringing as much light as possible into the rooms, using the smallest suitable frames to divide the panes, while matching the existing layout.
Mark Chenery, Project Manager at Dudley Council said: “We are incredibly pleased with the work undertaken. The attention to detail in creating a workable like-for-like replacement of windowpanes across both projects has really been appreciated.”
“Going into these works, our primary concerns were solar control and thermal insulation, especially as some of the glazing was in an exposed, south-facing location.”
“The project has helped bring extra comfort to both Ridge Primary and Gig Mill School, providing a much better learning environment than previously, when the buildings suffered from overheating in summer and substantial heat loss in the winter.”
Adrian Parker, regional sales manager for Central UK at Pilkington UK said: “Schools represent 36% of all public sector emissions, with £630 million spent annually on energy. So, they increasingly need to find more energy efficient ways for striking the optimal temperature for learning as we edge closer to the net-zero deadline.
“Pilkington Suncool™ helps buildings to manage temperature and energy use in some of the world’s most demanding environments, with the specialist glazing used in The Palm Tower in Dubai. Yet it’s equally as effective in Dudley, as public sector organisations solve the puzzle of creating comfortable temperatures while lowering energy use, at a time when heatwaves are becoming more frequent.”