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Cundall designs a Net Zero school for SEMH students' wellbeing

UK and Europe 17 April 2023

Beormund School is a new build primary school that will be situated in the London Borough of Southwark for children with social, emotional, and mental health (SEMH) needs. The school seeks to create a safe environment that will help foster growth and a love of learning. The development will be constructed based on a net zero carbon scheme, setting a great example for the future of sustainable schools.

With our expertise in the design of special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) schools and low energy buildings, Cundall have been appointed to provide building services, acoustics, fire engineering and sustainability consultancy services to the project. It was agreed by all on the design team that a fabric first approach following the principals of Passivhaus will be key. Our engineers are undertaking extensive dynamic modelling relating to operational energy and daylighting to optimise the thermal envelope and will look at how to balance the energy demand with good systems. The goal is to omit all radiators and underfloor heating from classrooms, resulting in the ultimate flexible classroom design.

The new Beormund School’s ultra-low energy credentials will include air source heat pumps to deliver heating and hot water, and a large photovoltaic array that will cover much of the roof, providing a sustainable source of energy. Each of the classrooms will be equipped with a CO2 sensor that can be used to reduce or increase airflow depending on the number of occupants. The teachers will still be able to open the windows, at which point mechanical ventilation will ramp back. By providing multiple options for the supply of fresh air, the opportunity to reduce energy usage is maximised. Paul Sperring, Associate Director at Cundall, stated, “It has been great working alongside Cullinan Studio architects and structural engineers Engenuiti to develop a fantastic new school with a predominately timber construction that has a low embodied carbon footprint and ultra-low energy in use. This school provides for children with additional mental health needs in their community and it is a place that will attract and retain the best teaching and support staff.”

Beormund school is due to complete in 2024.