Design for future climate banner

Wyre Forest Primary Schools

The project involves two new primary schools and one refurbished primary school in the Wyre Forest area of Worcestershire. The projects were completed in 2012.

By grouping three schools into one adaptation study, it has been possible to investigate a range of issues which relate not only to these schools, but also to a wider range of similar buildings throughout the UK.

The project has concentrated on strategies to reduce summertime overheating. Areas of study have included the effect of external shading, improved ventilation, revised fenestration and a wider review of the influence of landscape. Adaptations were linked to a timeline to allow for incremental additions to suit changing climatic conditions.

The study also reviewed the interpretation of acceptable environmental conditions, and considered the effect of varying the hours of occupation of the buildings, involving an earlier daily start and finishing time.

Further project details

1. What approach did you take in assessing risks and identifying adaptation measures to mitigate the risks?

Initial meetings were held with the school staff and pupils, to assess their perception of risk and to identify critical issues which would have the greatest effect on the operation of the school. The evaluation included reference to recent severe weather events, and how they had affected the school. The results informed the design team discussions, and helped to identify the most appropriate adaptation measures and the anticipated timeline for installation.

2. How have you communicated the risks and recommendations with your client? What methods worked well?

Risks and recommendations were discussed with the school. Discussions with staff included reference to the D4FC Report and the results of the climate projections. The teachers involved pupils in project work, which included identifying the areas of the building most susceptible to the effects of climate change.

The project introduced the concept of climate change to the pupils and provided the basis for valuable learning opportunities.

3. What tools have you used to assess overheating and flood risks?

  • Climate change predictions were based on UKCP09, and the analysis used the 2011 version of the weather generator
  • Data was produced to the end of the century
  • Modelling was undertaken using IES software and Prometheus data.

4. What has the client agreed to implement as a result of your adaptation work?

The results of the study have shown that adaptations will not be required in the two new schools until them middle of the century.

Recommendations have been made for adaptations at the refurbished school, but funding is not currently available.

5. What were the major challenges so far in doing this adaptation work?

Identifying the most appropriate weather files to use for IES modelling, including the emissions scenario, the probability level and the time period that most closely matched the users view of the consequences of extreme weather events on their school.

Developing a cost effective strategy that could also be applied to other similar buildings.

6. What advice would you give others undertaking adaptation strategies?

  • Consider the potential for extending the application of adaptation strategies to a wider range of buildings.
  • Consider affordability and the potential for incremental adaptations to suit both climate change and the availability of funding.
  • Effective solutions do not necessarily have to be complex.