August 2011

Colmonell Primary School1 200 x 200When ARPL architects designed the new £1.5 million Colmonell Primary School in South Ayrshire, they created one of the most energy efficient and eco-friendly schemes in Scotland, including a comprehensive Solar Shading solution from Levolux.

The BREEAM ‘excellent’ rated development, demonstrates how contemporary materials and energy efficient building technology can be applied cost-effectively and sympathetically to transform education provision in a small rural community. The school’s design maximises use of natural resources, ensuring all internal spaces benefit from natural ventilation and natural daylight.

A south-facing 13 metre wide by 4 metre high vertical glazed projection, set immediately behind and above the reception area, not only creates an attractive focal point, but also performs a vital role. It enables natural daylight to penetrate deep into the core of the single storey building.

Colmonell Primary School2 200 x 200As the UK’s leading Solar Shading specialist, Levolux was approached to develop a solution, comprising its internal motorised Roller Blinds and external Aerofoil Fins, to control light, heat and glare levels.

Levolux’s Infiniti® Fin system, with its unique concealed fixings, creates a seamless aesthetic of horizontal Aerofoil Fins in front of exposed south-facing windows. In total, more than 150 metres of 300mm wide Aerofoil Fins have been grouped into two bays, with 9 rows per bay.

Fixed at the optimum angle for maximum solar protection in the summer, the Fins prevent excessive solar heat gain, allowing the building to remain cool naturally, without the need for air-conditioning.

Colmonell Primary School4 200 x 200Conversely, the angle of the Aerofoil Fins is such that during the winter and to some degree in the mornings and afternoons, the glazing becomes more exposed to the sun, allowing solar heat gain to help warm the building.

Complementing the external Solar Shading and to allow more precise control of light and glare levels, Levolux fitted its motorised Tensioned Fabric Blinds and Roller Blinds internally against south-facing windows.

Seven motorised Tensioned Fabric Blinds, fitted at high level, control daylight levels in the core of the building. Installed in two groups, the Tensioned Blinds range in length from 1.7 up to 3.7 metres, with a drop of 4 metres. The Blinds are equipped with stainless steel cables to maintain the fabric at the optimum tension and to guide the blinds as they are raised and lowered.

Colmonell Primary School3 200 x 200To complete the solution, Levolux fitted its motorised fabric Roller Blinds internally to shade exposed south-facing windows at low level. Ranging in length from 2.5 to 3.3 metres and with a drop of 1.5 metres, the Blinds can be raised and lowered separately using wall-mounted rocker switches.

The Tensioned Blinds and Roller Blinds are fitted with a durable white fabric, which was selected for its solar performance. The fabric reflects 70% of solar radiation, while allowing 19% of light to filter through into the building, helping to create a naturally light, yet cool environment.

Colmonell Primary School’s Head Teacher, Cindy O’Driscoll is very pleased with the contribution from Levolux, commenting; “The Blinds and Fins reduce glare and heat considerably, without darkening the space. The effect of light entering through high level windows is quite breathtaking and would not be possible without the protection provided by the Blinds and Fins.”

The Aerofoil Fins and other extruded aluminium components have been finished in a matt white powder coating, which complements the overall scheme.

Pupils and staff at Colmonell Primary School can now enjoy their light, airy new facilities, thanks to the application of eco-friendly and sustainable building products, such as the Solar Shading solution, from Levolux.