Bygrove Primary School Extension, Poplar

The highest BREEAM score for any school in the country in 2010

Project Details

  • Scheme & Version: Education 2008
  • Stage: Final
  • Location: Poplar, UK
  • Score & Rating: 71.51% Excellent
  • Certificate Number: BREEAM-0036-0354
  • Size: 203m2

Project Team

  • Client: London Borough of Tower Hamlets,
  • Architect: Paul Botten, London Borough of Tower Hamlets,
  • Contractor: Lakehouse
  • Assessor: Richard Hodkinson Consultancy
  • Mechanical Engineer: Dean Barker, Cunnington Clark
  • Structural Engineer: Colin Toms & Partners

About the Building

Bygrove Primary School in Poplar underwent an extension at the front of the school comprising a multi-purpose room, a therapy/medical room (which is fuuly accessible for special educational needs pupils), a staff room and associated amenities. The works also included a covered play area for nursery school pupils and new landscaping in the playground. The multi-purpose room is used to hold workshops and courses for parents. It provides a location for a full-time home support worker and facilitates links to Job Centre Plus. Previously cramped classrooms have been enlarged allowing new flexible learning spaces to be created.

Staff and students at the school have long had an interest in sustainability and aspire to achieve recognition for their efforts through the Eco-Schools programme. When the funding for the new extension was agreed they were keen to make sure that it met high sustainability standards. A requirement to build to BREEAM ‘Very Good’ was set by the local authority, Tower Hamlets Borough Council, but the school extension surpassed this by achieving BREEAM ‘Excellent’ and the highest BREEAM score for any school in the country in 2010.

The work formed part of the Government’s Primary Capital Program, which aims to improve primary schools through refurbishment and new extensions.

Environmental Features 

  • Solar hot water panels,
  • Green roof with a camera for monitoring by pupils,
  • Natrual ventilation used throughout,
  • New cycle storage for staff,
  • A nature garden that includes a vegetable patch and wetlands area that are managed by pupils,
  • Very high levels of daylight,
  • A high effciency boiler backs up the solar hot water to run the under floor heating.

Category Scores

  • Pollution: 90.91%,
  • Health & Wellbeing: 87.5%,
  • Management: 85%,
  • Land use and Ecology: 75%.

“Sustainability is a crucial element of our school’s ethos. The BREEAM Assessment encouraged us to focus on elements of the project that were particularly important to us. This reduces the energy usage and waste, maximising opportunities for recycling and increasing occupancy comfort in a fit-for-purpose environment. It helped us to walk the talk! The new build project and BREEAM have created a building extension that everyone at Bygrove is really proud of. The local community has greater use of the building, which now demonstrates best practice environmentally. Children, employees & other users love coming here.” Jeremy Ivor, Co-Head Teacher Bygrove Primary School

Building Services

Hot water for space heating is provided by solar hot water panels, which are backed up by a low NOx, high effciency gas boiler. This feeds the under floor heating system.

Natural ventilation is provided throughout the extension, so there is no need for any mechanical cooling. The natural ventilation strategy has included child-safe opening mechanisms on the windows to ensure safety of the pupils is not compromised by the provision of openable windows.

Sub-meters have been provided for the space heating, domestic hot water, small power and lighting. The meters will allow any significant energy using systems to be identified. Sanitary fittings are low flow/low flush volume to reduce the potable water used.

Green Strategy

The solar hot water panels have led to an 11% reduction in COemissions from the extension. A green roof has been installed together with a camera so pupils can see what happens over time to this area and identify the birds that use it. A vegetable garden, pond and wetland area allow pupils to use the extension as a learning resource and also see how the environmental impact of the development has been mitigated.

The project scored highly in the pollution section because there is no mechanical cooling, the boiler has low NOx emissions. Both noise and light pollution have been addressed, with best practice guidelines followed to reduce pollution from these sources. This is particularly important given that the school is in a highly built-up area of east London.