Two Rivers CofE Primary School will be at the heart of the Hygge Park development, a focal point for bringing the community together. Set back from Fairfield Way the school is located off-centre of the site surrounded by landscaped grounds for play, sports and nature. The building will have a quiet presence.
The facades have been crafted to blend with the wider Hygge Park development using a refined palette of high-quality materials. In keeping with neighbouring houses, the ground floor is built of buff brickwork with white render above and dark grey aluminium windows, drainpipes and roof. Local blue lias stone is used to highlight the main pupil and visitor entrances on both the south and west elevations of the building giving a sense of heritage and stability. The distinctive school logo is applied to the north, west, and south elevations, with dark grey lettering across the north elevation clearly visible from Fairfield Way.
The building is designed to Passivhaus Plus Certification standards, embracing a high performance thermally insulated envelope, low energy consumption and roof-mounted Photovoltaic panels, which will make the building self-sufficient in energy generation. Passivhaus is a requirement of BANES planning policy to achieve sustainable buildings to fulfil the local authority’s climate emergency commitment of being carbon neutral by 2030.
The landscaping design enhances the natural environment. The existing watercourse running the length of the site is planted with native species of hedgerow shrubs to allow protective nesting sites for birds, whilst grass areas not given over to playing will cultivate self-seeding meadow flowers which will bloom giving colour throughout the year attracting insects of all varieties.
Hedgehogs, badgers and squirrels are all known to forage in the area. The attraction of wildlife is at the heart of the landscaping designs with areas put aside for bird boxes, bat boxes, hedgehog and insect hotels. Fruit trees will also form part of the learning experience with apples, pears and cherries being collected by the children in late summer.
The children and local community will benefit from a tarmac Multi-Use Games Area (MUGA) suitable for football and netball, and a grassed area given over to under-sevens/eight football and a four-lane grass running track. There are plenty of grass banks for spectators to sit and view the sporting activities safely. Formal play areas are provided around the perimeter of the building accessed directly from each one of the ground floor classrooms. Early years have an area of soft play and canopies are provided for play to continue in all weathers. Older years have a large fabric sun sail.
Access and car parking
A healthy environment is important to Wellsway Multi Academy Trust. Parents, children and staff will all be encouraged to walk, cycle or scooter to school where ample secure bike storage is provided. Wide footpaths have been provided from Fairfield Way to the school entrance where parents can wait and socialise before the walk home. The nearest bus stop is located on the A4 Bath Road at the entrance to the estate less than 5 minutes walk.
For those few who will be dropped-off / picked-up by car, a one-way drive through system has been designed and will be managed to ensure no vehicles can wait in Fairfield Way. Provisions have been made for all deliveries and waste collection to be managed within the school’s grounds.
Passivhaus certification is driven by air quality and comfort. “Passivhaus is a building in which thermal comfort can be achieved solely by post-heating or post-cooling the fresh air flow required for a good indoor air quality, without the need for additional recirculation of air.”
Post-heating of the air comes from the individuals using the building, the electrical equipment being used, cooking in the kitchen and using the green-house effect of the windows during the winter.
To capture this heat the external walls, ground floor and roof are heavily insulated and made air-tight, and windows are triple glazed. The thermal insulation requirements of this building are far in excess of the current building regulations.
The only heat which is supplied to the building, during the winter, is that which is lost through the building fabric. Typically a building of this size can be run on a domestic boiler, with similar heating bills. The attraction of Passivhaus is the very-low running costs for the building owner, which in turn equates to a reduction in carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. This will support BANES’ climate emergency declaration of being carbon neutral by 2030.
Two Rivers Primary will be one of the first large buildings in the BANES area not to be powered by gas. The heating circuits for both the underfloor heating and hot water are supplied by air source heat pumps which are very efficient both in winter and summer. Passivhaus Plus certification requires the roof to be covered with Photovoltaic panels which will generate the energy demands of the school with minimal topping up from the national grid.
Users of the building will not know they are living and working in a Passivhaus building. They can open the windows if they require, they will not hear any building systems and they will experience the same temperatures as they move throughout the building. Fresh air is always being provided to where it is required most, a Passivhaus environment is a healthy and comfortable environment.