How Darwin Group are helping to shape the Long Term Plan for Education through Sustainable Design & Build Solutions.

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Darwin Group have long been considered the leading providers of Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) or Modular Design & Build Solutions for the Education Sector, providing transformational projects for Local Authorities, Independent Schools and Further Education across the country.

We strongly believe that high-performing, energy-efficient school buildings can serve a crucial role in uplifting students, staff and the wider community over the long term. For this reason Darwin Group have invested heavily in developing best-of-breed construction and build system technologies from their Head office and factory site in Shropshire.

In 2019, The UK government published its long-awaited net-zero carbon strategy setting out how it plans to meet the country’s climate goals. Within the targets it states that all new build developments by 2030 achieve Net Zero Carbon in operation and for the wider estate to be brought up to speed by 2050.

With ongoing pressures on Local Authorities and Education Groups to provide sufficient spaces for the country’s growing mainstream and high needs population, many are looking for innovative solutions in the race toward carbon neutrality.

With targets looming, there is now increasing pressure to step away from traditional build systems and embrace the speed, efficiency and sustainability that Modern Methods of Construction offers in the design and delivery of Education new builds.

Passivhaus design typically utilises the same materials as any traditional build system with the design life and durability relatively comparable. However, in order to achieve the Passivhaus Certification, not only do build materials have to be of the upmost quality but installation and execution have to be met with meticulous care and attention which are all maintained internally through Darwin Groups in-house manufacturing facility.

For example, the Passivhaus approved windows to be installed at St Edwards School will reduce heat loss by more than 70% compared to existing double-glazed windows. High quality external insulation will also be added to cut heat loss by 90%, supported by an energy efficient design standard that maintains an almost constant temperature. This will ensure a comfortable and healthy learning environment, while minimising the energy demand of the building, significantly lowering the school’s operational costs.

We are extremely proud to be delivering some of the UK’s first Net Zero Carbon & Passivhaus Education Schemes. The recent partnership with St Edwards School in Romsey, Hampshire will see the first Special Educational Project to achieve the enhanced Passivhaus Plus Certification. The new 631sq² teaching block will include six classrooms, group learning areas and a sensory room with the team of designers and architects at Darwin Group taking up the challenge of creating an inspiring build that works in harmony with the Grade II listed former manor house.

Sally Webb, director of development at St Edward’s School, said: “At St Edward’s, we are committed to the stewardship of our environment and therefore carbon neutrality is a target that has a moral imperative for all of us and that is why we are delighted that the new build will be Passivhaus.”

The project at St Edwards School was developed through a Pre-Construction Services Agreement making full use of Darwin Groups in-house capabilities. This allowed Darwin Group to develop the scheme from a blank canvas and create a real spirit of team collaboration from project concept to delivery on site. Many Schools and Local Authorities find this approach offers the benefit of cost-savings through the design development phase of the project as well as complete control and predictability of budget and programme at all stages of project delivery.

Darwin Group are actively working alongside Local Authorities to provide information around achieving Net Zero Carbon & Passivhaus Certification across Education. Their accredited Continuous Professional Development Session (CPD) looks to outline the benefits of utilising a modular build system to cost effectively meet these credentials in line with the 2030 & 2050 Targets. Feel free to get in touch with our Education Sector Lead, Oscar Jenkins  at [email protected] or by phone on 01939 252909 for more information.


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