Goodmayes Primary School, Ilford, is a co-educational day school with a 26-place part-time nursery unit. The school, which celebrated its centenary in December 2009, is currently in the process of changing from two-form entry to three-form entry, for which a new two-storey, 12,000ft² building has been built. The new facility is built on an old playground, links the existing infant and junior buildings and provides the school with an additional eight classrooms, a nursery, hall, reception area, staff room and administrative offices.

The design and build contract was awarded to Neilcott Construction and as part of the specification, Monodraught provided sunpipe natural daylight systems and windcatcher natural ventilation systems.

Commenting for Neilcott, senior surveyor Tim Pearce says: “We needed natural lighting in corridors and in certain areas of the classrooms that were too dark. In two of the classrooms we also required natural ventilation because cross ventilation couldn’t be achieved by opening windows. We have used Monodraught systems on previous projects, and for the Goodmayes school building they installed a total of 26 sunpipes and two windcatcher systems.”

On the ground floor sunpipes are installed in the school’s large kitchen, the nursery and toilets. On the first floor, they are fitted in classrooms, cloakrooms and toilets, and in corridors, stairs and stores areas. Neilcott also installed a daylight control system to optimise the lux level of the electric lighting with the performance of the sunpipes during daylight hours, and therefore reduce energy costs.

The two windcatchers that are installed in classrooms 2 and 3 are fitted with motorised volume control dampers linked to a Monodraught iNVent intelligent natural ventilation control system, which uses sensors to monitor temperature and CO2 levels.

Commenting on the performance of the Monodraught equipment, Tim Pearce says: “I am always impressed by the amount of light the sunpipes provide, even at dusk; and the windcatcher natural ventilation system is very quiet and unobtrusive in the classrooms, while providing a comfortable working environment for pupils and teachers.”

Daylight is a vital natural resource for schools. Its mixture of diffuse light from the sky and direct light from the sun, defines and models an interior space creating a pleasant visual environment and a feeling of well-being, which stimulates performance. The higher illumination provided in classrooms that are top lit using sunpipes, is said to provide three times more light, which can improve visibility during a task and the speed and accuracy with which students perform tasks.

In addition, sunpipes save energy and reduce carbon footprint by eliminating the need for electric lighting during daylight hours, not only on the top floors of a building, but also in lower floors. There is no solar gain in summer or heat loss in winter relative to the performance of rooflights, and sunpipes can also minimise problems of glare and veiling reflections on desks and computer screens, compared to conventional windows and roof lights.