October 2016

sandy-hook-school1-200x200The new $50 million Sandy Hook School in Connecticut, USA, benefits from an attractive external solar shading solution from Levolux, helping to keep its students and staff comfortably cool.

The original Sandy Hook School was demolished in 2013, following a devastating mass shooting in 2012, which took the lives of 20 children and 6 staff. Following a patient planning process, the new facility is carefully designed to honour the victims of the tragic event, while creating a safe and comfortable environment for students, staff and the local community to move forward with their lives.

sandy-hook-school2-200x200Designed by Svigals + Partners, the new Sandy Hook School is equipped with a host of features to create a calm and secure haven for occupants. Attention was focussed on maintaining optimum conditions in classrooms by adopting passive solar heating and daylighting technology. This approach is proven to significantly reduce the need to open windows or install expensive air conditioning, in order to keep internal temperatures at comfortable levels.

Levolux was invited to offer its market-leading expertise to develop a passive external solar shading solution. As a form of Brise Soleil, external shading structures, such as those employed at Sandy Hook School, are now commonplace on all types of building.

sandy-hook-school3-200x200Solar shading complements glazed curtain walling by reflecting and absorbing heat energy from the sun’s rays. In the winter, some solar heat gain is desirable to heat the building, but on a midsummers day solar heat gain can become excessive and internal temperatures can soar to uncomfortable levels.

For the Sandy Hook School, Levolux devised a solution based on its innovative Infiniti® Fin system. This provides a unique and highly sustainable method of fixing Fins of virtually any shape and size to a building.

sandy-hook-school4-200x200In this case, Fins have been applied vertically using an aluminium horizontal carrier, although Fins can also be fixed horizontally or inclined as required.

In total, Levolux manufactured and supplied 547 aerofoil-shaped Fins for the Sandy Hook School, each measuring 250mm wide by 55mm thick. The Fins, which are formed from extruded aluminium, are distributed across three wings of the development, along east and west-facing elevations.

The application of ‘vertical’ Fins in front of glazing is most appropriate on east and west-facing elevations, as they counter the position of the sun as it passes overhead to the south. Fins are fixed at an angle of 90 degrees and set at 495mm centres, which provides effective shading during the middle of the day, but without compromising daylight levels or outward visibility.

sandy-hook-school5-200x200With its concealed, patented stainless steel fixings, the Infiniti Fin system, which was launched in 2009, has become a firm favourite among architects. This is key to delivering a clean, continuous and uncompromised appearance. Fins can also be cantilevered past the last support, making them appear to float in front of the building.

The Fins at Sandy Hook School have also been used to inject colour into the scheme. A similar approach is often used on schools, universities, offices and car parks. Each Fin has been given a durable powder coated finish, in one of four vibrant colours, ranging from yellow and orange, to grey and dark red.

In September 2016, the new Sandy Hook School opened and accepted its first intake of students. By adopting a sensitive approach to building design and deploying energy efficient technologies, such as the colourful solar shading solution from Levolux, the development provides a new hope for a peaceful and positive future for the Sandy Hook community.