22nd November 2023

vHH Primary school achieves AECB energy efficiency certification

In continuing to deliver low carbon buildings for our clients, we are very happy to announce that we now have our first officially certified AECB building! St Gabriel’s School Phase 2B has achieved AECB Standard certification for energy efficiency. This is a great achievement for the design team and contractor (Lindum), showcasing how good detailing and conscientious construction need to go together to create a building which performs as intended.

Phase 2B’s design is the result of post occupancy work by Etude and vHH, commissioned by Urban & Civic at our suggestion. Using simple questionnaires, room C02 monitoring, and metered energy data, we demonstrated that the original building was much liked, but had high energy use and poor comfort in some situations. With Urban & Civic’s blessing we set out to deliver the second phase to deliver much better performance. This meant working within the constraints of the existing planning permission as much as possible, but still squeezing in a plant room to allow MVHR and an air source heat pump, changing the structure to mass timber, and increasing the insulation and airtightness.

This certification therefore also celebrates the value of post occupancy assessment – allowing continual learning and improvement. The joint focus on operation and embodied carbon has delivered a building with about half the Whole Life Carbon of Phase 1, and has set the benchmark for our current crop of new-build school projects.