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Press Release

Interserve to deliver Passivhaus certified Leeds school

by Interserve Press Office | Oct 25, 2011

Interserve, the international support services and construction group has been awarded a prestigious contract with Leeds City Council to build a new school for 630 pupils plus a 26 place nursery, designed to meet the stringent requirements of Passivhaus.

Richmond Hill Primary School in Leeds will, once completed, use up to 80 per cent less energy than a conventionally built equivalent facility, reducing carbon emissions by 60 per cent without the use of renewable energy. Superior air tightness and superb levels of insulation, coupled with a highly efficient mechanical ventilation heat recovery (MVHR) system will all contribute to the building achieving its Passivhaus certification.

The school has a Passivhaus air tightness target of 0.6 ACH (Air Changes Per Hour), which means the building must not leak more than 0.6 times its volume of air per hour at 50 pascals. This level of air tightness is well over ten times better than the current building regulations’ requirement of 10m3/m2/hour at 50 pascals.

Helping to achieve superior levels of thermal insulation is Interserve’s solution for the eradication of cold bridging between the building’s piled foundations and steelwork frame using high-strength insulation normally used in industrial process plant installations.

The walls and roof of Richmond Hill School will achieve excellent thermal insulation performance, with U-Values far exceeding the requirements of the current building regulations. Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) manufactured off-site featuring polyurethane insulation will be used to form the structural fabric of the walls, and further SIPs panels with extra mineral wool insulation will form the roof of the new building. The materials will enable an impressive U-Value of 0.1W/m2K to be achieved for the walls.

Triple glazed timber windows, certified by the Passivhaus Institute, will also facilitate excellent standards of thermal insulation, whilst also helping to keep air leakage to a minimum. The specific heat demand of the building will be less than 15kWh/m2/year and the Primary Energy Demand less than 120kWh/m2/year, therefore the school will benefit from lower energy costs.

Due to open its doors to over 630 pupils in September 2012, Richmond Hill Primary School, designed by the architectural and urban design company ‘_space group’ supported by BGP (Structural Engineers) and Hoare Lea (Building Services Engineers), is being built as part of the Leeds Primary Capital Programme, and will include a specialist Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC) facility for up to 16 children with special educational needs.

Commenting on the contract, Interserve’s project manager Jim Shaw said:
“Building to the rigorously tested high standards of Passivhaus is a challenge, and is testimony to the partnership approach of Interserve both with Leeds City Council and with our subcontractors. It is gratifying that Interserve is at the cutting edge of raising standards in school building for the UK.”

Once completed, Richmond Hill School will include a number of innovative features, including areas that will allow groups and individuals to learn away from the traditional classroom; a learning street will facilitate flexible teaching across the school; small group rooms will be included for personalised learning; there will be a dedicated multi-purpose community space; and a multi-purpose hall will also feature.

As part of its scope of works, Interserve will also demolish the original school building, and build a RFL specification rugby pitch, which will also be used by local sports groups.

Interserve has delivered over £400 million worth of schools projects throughout the UK over the past two years, and has also recently begun construction of Swillington School, another Passivhaus scheme in Leeds.

Leeds City Council has been very keen to incorporate the benefits of long term low energy use combined with the improved internal learning environmental conditions that Passivhaus brings for the children, and worked closely with Interserve to develop Richmond Hill Primary School.

– Ends –

For further information please contact:

Michele Curran 
Head of Corporate Business Development

Karen Lewis 
Edson Evers
01785 255146

About Interserve

Interserve's vision is to be the Trusted Partner of all our stakeholders. We are one of the world’s foremost support services and construction companies, operating in the public and private sectors in the UK and internationally. We offer advice, design, construction, equipment and facilities management services for society's infrastructure. Interserve is based in the UK, has revenue of £1.9 billion and a workforce of nearly 50,000 people worldwide.

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