DJHC Ltd

The Alton School

The Alton School

A comfortable classroom is essential to a positive and productive learning experience. As a result, MEP plays an integral role in school design. The temperature, light, and air quality in schools can have a significant impact on pupils’ ability to learn and the comfort of the staff, so it is critical that they are well-designed. For instance, recent studies have shown that the temperature in a classroom can have a substantial effect on a student’s memory and cognitive performance. One such study conducted at an American university found that in a sample of 50 randomly chosen students, those that studied in rooms with temperatures of 64°F (17°C) performed substantially less well in exams than those that studied in more temperate72°F (22°C) surroundings. Ventilation has been shown to have equal importance. Poor indoor air quality has been shown to be particularly detrimental to school children, who spend approximately 30% of their time in the classroom. In these environments, they are subject to a whole host of pollutants, from bio-effluent carbon dioxide to fumes from cleaning products. This is a particular issue for children, whose organs and tissue are still growing, making them more vulnerable to damage. These concerns were especially important for The Alton School, a primary school for children with moderate learning difficulties in the borough of Wandsworth, London. To make sure the temperature and air quality in every classroom was as clean and comfortable as possible, Wandsworth Council enlisted the help of David J Higgins Consultants in 2007. This £760k commission comprised the design of the heating, ventilation, domestic services and air conditioning system for the school’s remodelled classrooms and staff facilities. By overseeing the retrofit of new ventilation and partial air conditioning systems, DJHC helped The Alton School ensure classrooms were as safe and comfortable as possible. The heating re-design was based on the existing gas-fired boiler system, which was integral to cost-management. Ultimately, a comfortable learning environment is essential, but for public institutions like schools, it is vital that these solutions are cost-effective. By re-modelling an existing system, DJHC ensured that the project was cost-controlled and building services were financially viable and energy-efficient into the future. The result was a healthy learning environment for pupils with special needs. Equally, DJHC played an integral role in ensuring a comfortable working environment for staff and a cost-effective building services solution for management. With DJHC’s guidance, every stakeholder benefitted from this innovative and practical retrofit.