School achieves Passivhaus accreditation with help of Forbo

Education Fri, Jun 21, 2024 1:53 PM

With an ambitious target set to reduce energy costs and create a space that promoted the wellbeing of students, Architype specified a range of Forbo Flooring Systems’ environmentally conscious floor coverings to meet these important objectives on the new Riverside Primary School.

Based in Perth, Scotland, Riverside Primary School is the first Passivhaus designed primary school in Scotland. Passivhaus certification and performance was a key priority for Perth and Kinross Council, with this brief informing many of the specifications made for the construction and internal finishes of the new school.

Sam Boyle, Associate at Architype spoke on the project, saying: “With the Passivhaus standard set as a key target by Perth and Kinross council, our team had to overcome a range of design challenges to meet the stringent technical performance requirements for the accreditation. Thanks to clever specification and design choices, we were able to achieve this, with the new school estimated to reduce energy costs by 70% compared with a CIBSE typical benchmark school.

“To meet the Passivhaus standard, it was important that the materials we put into the building were carefully chosen. This was one of the main reasons behind our use of Forbo’s flooring solutions, with its industry-leading sustainability credentials and wide range of designs ideal for satisfying the project expectations.”

As well as meeting the technical Passivhaus requirements, Architype were also keen to create an exceptional space which combined comfort, light, air quality and natural finishes with soothing colours, as Sam explains: “We really wanted to make this environment uplifting and welcoming for the students and staff, with lots of natural finishes and surfaces used to help root the school in nature. Flooring was a key part of this.

“For example, one product we specified across the school’s circulation areas was Marmoleum Decibel in the Eiger colourway. Not only is Marmoleum Decibel an incredibly sustainable floor covering, independently certified as Climate Positive, cradle to gate, without offsetting, but it is also extremely durable, making it perfect for high usage areas within a school. In addition to this, Marmoleum Decibel can reduce impact noise by 18 dB, something which is great for a busy school environment. The Eiger colourway complemented our overall colour palette, with the dark grey stone effect design fitting in well, in addition to having dirt hiding properties – perfect for such heavily trafficked areas.”

However, Marmoleum wasn’t the only Forbo product used within the school, with Architype also specifying a range of Forbo’s Step safety flooring and Tessera carpet tiles.

Sam commented: “For the classrooms, we specified Forbo’s Tessera Chroma carpet tiles in the Quinoa and Pasture colourways. Not only are these floor coverings soft underfoot, bringing in an element of warmth and comfort to the classrooms, but they also contain 61% recycled content by weight, making them an eco-friendly choice. In addition, the two colourways fit our colour palette, being plain in pattern, but still reminiscent of the outdoors in terms of shade.”

Another key component for this project was safety, with the wellbeing of students and staff extremely important. As a result, Architype turned to Forbo’s Surestep and Safestep safety vinyls and Colorex SD ESD solutions.

Sam explained: “Of course, safety was a top priority for this project - not only for the students, but for the staff too. That’s why we specified Forbo’s Surestep and Safestep R11 in the kitchen and wet rooms, as well as its Colorex SD anti-static vinyl in the server room and other IT rooms. All of these solutions have great safety credentials, with Surestep and Safestep providing R10 and R11 slip reduction ratings and Colorex SD having electrostatic discharge properties throughout its entire lifetime. We specified all three in neutral grey colourways to ensure a uniform appearance.”

Finally, Architype utilised Forbo’s Coral Duo entrance flooring in the Dark Steel colourway across all external doors and passageways, stairs and toilet entrances. As well as preventing walked-in dirt, Coral Duo also lowers the risk of moisture being walked through the building, which could cause slips. An effective entrance flooring system can also help to reduce cleaning and maintenance costs, by stopping dirt build-up across interior floor coverings.

Speaking on the finished project, Sam said: “For us, the real measure of any school building and interior is the influence it has on those using it and how it can positively impact the ability of students to learn, play and grow. We’re delighted with how Riverside Primary School turned out, as are the client, Head Teacher and all the pupils – who are very proud of their new school.”

Kevin Dickson, Regional Managing Director at Robertson Group, the principal contractor for this project, spoke on the new school, saying: “Perth & Kinross Council have committed to building forward better by adopting Passivhaus standards for this new school. As the delivery partner of choice, we will be working closely with the local community whilst creating a facility that they can be proud of, and that will herald a change in the sustainable delivery and lifecycle of educational projects in Scotland.”

The school opened in July 2023 and has been well received by students and staff, with Annabelle Burns, the Head Teacher saying: “Our new Passivhaus Primary school is simply stunning! Light, bright and airy, bringing comfort and joy to the children and staff alike. In our first hours and days the resounding word was ‘wow’ and we’re really look forwards to developing our creative learning and teaching spaces as time goes on. As the first custodians of this very special school, we will treasure and respect the opportunities this building brings us for years to come.”

In association with Forbo Flooring Systems

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