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Darwin Group appointed to deliver net zero modular teaching block for school in Southampton


Darwin Group appointed to deliver net zero modular teaching block for school in Romsey, Southampton

Off-site construction specialist Darwin Group (@darwingroup_ltd) is due to start work on one of the UK’s first modular education buildings to achieve both Passivhaus and Net Zero Carbon certification. 

The new 631sq m. teaching block for St Edward’s school, in Romsey, Southampton, will include six classrooms, group learning areas and a sensory room.

As advocates of sustainability, Darwin Group presented the opportunity to support the school in its carbon reduction commitments by designing a net zero building. The use of modern methods of construction techniques will also ensure minimal waste from the build.

The Darwin Group team is working closely with the school to achieve the benefits of a Passivhaus building. This is an energy efficient design standard that provides an almost constant temperature. This will ensure a comfortable and healthy learning environment, while minimising the energy demand of the building, significantly lowering the school’s operational costs.

The Passivhaus approved windows selected for the build, will reduce heat loss by more than 70% compared to existing double-glazed windows. High quality external insulation will also be added to cut heat loss by 90%. An efficient heat recovery system has also been proposed to reduce ventilation heat losses by up to 90%.

The school campus is made up of a former manor house, built in 1868 and set in 180 acres of land. The team of experienced designers and architects at Darwin Group has taken up the challenge of creating a new build which works in harmony with the Grade II listed original building. 

The space will provide multi-functional areas with plenty of natural day light, ensuring students and employees using the build can enjoy an elevated learning environment for flexible working. 

The 20-week programme will see Darwin Group design every element of the school block, including the completion of surveys and a planning application. The construction phase is then expected to be delivered within 18.5 weeks.

Work on site is due to commence in October of 2021 with a target completion date planned for April 2022.

Charles Pierce, Managing Director of Darwin Group, said:

“We are passionate about sustainable educational buildings, so it has been a privilege to be appointed by a client whose values align. Working together, we have the opportunity create a school block which pushes the boundaries of sustainability to achieve one of the first net zero educational environments. The pre-construction plans are coming together brilliantly and we’re looking forward to utilising our off-site techniques to deliver high quality construction.  

Sally Webb, Director of Development at St Edward’s School, said

“We are delighted to be working with Darwin Group. Our brief to the team was to design a building that sits well in the natural environment, creates a synergy with Melchet Court and meets the requirements of our SEMH pupils. At St Edward’s, we are committed to the stewardship of our environment and therefore carbon neutrality is a target that has a moral imperative for all of us and that is why we are delighted that the new build will be Passivhaus.  

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