Leicestershire County Council in the UK has appointed Willmott Dixon to build the county’s first net-zero in-operation school.

Willmott Dixon will construct a 210-place elementary school called Hollycroft Primary School on behalf of the council via Procurement Hub’s Major Projects Framework.

This £8.5m school will be located at Normandy Way on the outskirts of Hinckley.

Kast Architects is part of this school project team.

Utilising energy usage prediction modelling, Willmott Dixon will build the school in a way to make it net-zero in operation for both regulated and unregulated energy.

The project also seeks to achieve BREEAM Excellent.

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The design approach of this project is expected to cut down design time, costs, inefficiencies, and waste.

The school will be built using an easy-to-assemble timber frame, which leads to fewer carbon emissions compared with the conventional steel frame.

Furthermore, the focus will be placed on using materials that increase the building’s thermal efficiency, such as enhanced fabric walls, floors and roofs, and improved performance windows, which will cut down the impact of outdoor temperatures and heating and cooling expenses.

Offsite manufacturing will lessen the number of deliveries to the site, halving the estimated construction timeframe for the timber frame installation compared with the traditional method.

Willmott Dixon director Nick Heath said: “Having worked closely with Leicestershire County Council for many years building innovative new schools, we’re pleased to have another important project underway. It will result in a sustainably-focused school that is not only innovative and flexible but also supports the local authority’s ambitious net-zero targets.

“All over the country, buildings of old have not been designed with the future in mind, and this is where our pioneering approach is reinventing standards. Our Energy Synergy™ process will help expose any potential performance gap for the council and consequently offer the opportunity to drive down operational costs – a win for the client and for the environment.”

The OWLS (Oadby, Wigston and Leicestershire Schools) Academy Trust will be responsible for the school’s operation.