The new sixth-form building at Kirk Hallam Community Technology and Sports College is a partnership between Kirk Hallam and Ilkeston schools. Besides providing students with state-of-the-art facilities on a lakeside site, the exciting new building also features Monodraught natural ventilation systems.

Until recently, Kirk Hallam College was a comprehensive school run by Derbyshire County Council for 1050 students aged 11 to 16 years. A record of successful examinations results was followed by the award of ‘high performing school’ status by the DCFS, which allowed Kirk Hallam to apply for funding to open a sixth-form facility for 220 students. Due to safety considerations, its small windows have restricted opening, which means that classrooms suffer from limited ventilation in the summer, often creating a difficult working environment for students and staff.

Therefore, when designing the new building, good ventilation was a major consideration in order to create an environment in which students could work comfortably. Monodraught natural ventilation strategy, centred on sola-boost windcatchers, was specified for the 2200 square metre two-storey building. The extensive planning process involved project managers and designers Faithful+Gould, working to the requirements of the Derbyshire County Council and best practice college design principles to meet LSC funding criteria and the Building Regulations including Part L.

The Monodraught ground floor installation comprises eight GRP 1,000 square sola-boost systems serving a large performance hall; a sixth-form social area with a kitchen; two science laboratories; and a technology workshop. In addition, the performance hall is fitted with four 530mm sunpipes to ensure that the large space is bathed with natural daylight. The first floor installation includes twelve GRP 800 square sola-boost windcatchers for five classrooms, a private study room, and three ITC rooms. Two offices are also fitted with 300mm sunpipes to provide natural daylight.

To control the installation, Monodraught supplied two control panels to cover the building’s fifteen ventilation zones. The panels also enable the natural ventilation system to be integrated into the school’s overall BMS in order to ensure that the operation of both the heating system and the ventilation system is optimised.

Work started in January 2008 and the new sixth-form building was opened in May 2009 in a blaze of publicity when, coinciding with political campaigning for the European elections, the school became a focus for visits from Gordon Brown and most of his cabinet, accompanied by special branch and news teams from a number of TV stations!

Commenting on the success of the Monodraught natural ventilation strategy, a spokesman for Faithful+Gould, says, “Due to the design of the building we couldn’t achieve the levels of front-to-back crossflow ventilation required in the classrooms, so we decided to adopt a ‘stack effect’ roof-mounted system. The Monodraught sola-boost windcatchers provided the solution, especially as the solar-powered fans deliver an increase in ventilating airflow when it is needed most.”

He adds that the energy-saving impact of the Monodraught natural ventilation strategy, and the flow of air through the classrooms, are both very impressive and summertime heat gains are dramatically reduced, creating a cool, quiet environment for the students to work in.

Monodraught provided the data needed to prove their equipment on Faithful+Gould’s simulation package and, using the detailed drawing supplied, the consultants were able to create a thermal model of the building to confirm that the sola-boosts complied with the relevant Building Bulletin for ventilation and summertime overheating.

Summing up, Monodraught managing director Tony Cull says the modelling and the science worked together to create an impressive, well ventilated sixth-form building, and a great environment for the students to be taught in.