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rising, despite reductions to their heating demands, because of an increase in electricity consumption, according to new research.


The researchers, from the University of Cambridge and Shinawatra University, Thailand, were able to obtain records for around 25,000 Display Energy Certificates (DECs) produced in 2008-9, following a Freedom of Information request to the Department of Communities and Local Government.

Using the FOI-released material, the research team were able to combine information from the certificates with data collected from Ofsted to create a detailed schools database covering about 40% of the primary and secondary schools in England, including academies. Their findings, published in the new issue of the journal Building Research & Information, explore the key factors affecting energy use in schools, including the type of school, location, and the type of heating, ventilation and air conditioning system it uses.

In general, it was found that existing benchmarks for energy consumption in schools had over-estimated the fossil-thermal energy they need (primarily to heat the buildings), but underestimated the amount of electrical energy schools consume.

The study also found significant differences in energy use between different school types. Both secondary schools and academies were typically found to have

ypical CO2 emissions from schools in England are higher annual CO2 emissions per metre than primary

schools (6% and 27% respectively). Taking account of the different pupil densities was found to accentuate these differences: typical CO2

emissions per pupil were found

to be 47% higher in secondary schools, and 116% higher in academies, both compared with primary schools. These differences are due mostly to greater electrical consumption. Academies typically use one-and-a-half times the electricity per pupil compared with secondary schools, and over twice that of primary schools. Researchers believe that a combination of different reasons explains the rise in schools electricity consumption. One may be the increase in recent years in IT facilities and other technology to support teaching and learning.

When compared to school energy studies carried out over the last decade, the DEC data showed that there had been reductions in fossil-fuel thermal energy consumption, likely caused by improvements in building thermal performance and heating equipment. Electrical energy consumption has, however, increased, resulting in small increases in CO2

emissions across the school types.

Current good practice electrical consumption in schools in England is actually worse than typical practice in 1995. For more information please contact: Tom Kirk, Office of Communications, University of Cambridge. Tel: 01223 332300

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A new modular building at Hull Royal Infirmary providing state-of-the-art hospital facilities for up to 90,000 patients each year has been delivered by Portakabin using a highly innovative and sustainable construction solution to the benefit of patient care. Portakabin was appointed design and build contractor by Hull and East Yorkshire

Hospitals NHS Trust to construct a 3,000sqm permanent outpatients and training facility as part of a £7m investment. This complex three-storey building was manufactured, fitted out and handed over after just seven months on site – despite exceptional winter working conditions – to help the Trust meet increased demand for its services. The project required a highly flexible and innovative approach to its construction, combining 50 specially manufactured steel-framed modules with 50 units from another modular building on the hospital site that had become surplus to requirements. Portakabin recycled


and fully refurbished the structure of a two-storey ward block which included stripping out each module and installing new windows, upgrading the floor structure and re-lining internal walls. This approach to recycling

and re-using an existing modular structure for a completely new, purpose- designed facility made the project highly sustainable and cost effective – and

demonstrates the flexibility of modular construction when a building is no longer required. The Portakabin solution also reduced the programme time which in turn minimised disruption to patient services – a key issue for the Trust because of the close proximity of the new facility to the main hospital. Commenting on the project, Duncan Taylor, Head of Estates at the Trust, said,

“The Portakabin solution allowed us to re-use the structure of an existing modular ward building, minimising both cost and waste sent to landfill. The result is a really excellent scheme with facilities we are very proud of.”

The 200-room facility accommodates the

ophthalmology department on the ground floor with dermatology services on the first floor, allowing the Trust to consolidate services on one site as well as to increase capacity. On the upper floor, a new Clinical Skills Centre provides high quality education and training facilities for doctors, with facilities including a simulated ward, critical care unit and theatre suite. Email: Tel: 0845 401 0020.

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