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How natural daylight can enhance academic performance

Chris Chaney, Managing Director of Sunsquare, discusses the use of rooflights at Sybil Andrews Academy

Posted by Lucinda Reid | July 13, 2017 | Facilities & buildings

The new Sybil Andrews Academy in Bury St Edmunds was completed in January 2017 and consists of three buildings: Heart Building, Teaching Block 1 and the sports building - all of which would be capable of initially supporting 900 students, with the ability to expand to accommodate 1,400 pupils and a sixth form by 2031.

With a tight schedule of two years from concept to completion, Sunsquare worked alongside the project architects, Concertus, to help with implementing the design and the installation of the rooflights. In total, 31 Sunsquare rooflights, including our SkyView, SkyView Multi Pane and Aero Access products, were installed.

Given the vast areas of glass, the architect set a target g-value of 0.33 to ensure that the building did not overheat in the summer months. As a result, we incorporated SN70 solar control in the glass specification, which also featured a laminated inner pane for reduced interior fading and heightened safety and security.

The second phase of the project was centred on the sports building, which features four of our SkyView Multi Pane rooflights, delivering an abundance of natural light into the sports facilities below.

The presence of consistent natural light has been proven to have considerable physiological benefits. There is a strong link between enhanced daylight in learning facilities and improved levels of pupil performance and concentration, including better exam results. Exposure to natural light positively influences a person’s circadian rhythm and improves their well-being while giving them a vitamin D boost.

In January 2014, the Education Funding Agency (EFA) published a guide containing up-to-date guidance on lighting design and daylight modelling for schools. The overall aim of the guide was to ensure sufficient levels of balanced glare-free light to all teaching areas.

Given that natural light is the most readily available and sustainable natural energy resource available for any school; maximising the amount of daylight into teaching spaces and minimising the carbon footprint of school buildings in the process is of great benefit. By using rooflights, you can flood any space, irrespective of size or shape, with natural light while being a solution to those more challenging spaces.

Andy Prestoe, Principal at Sybil Andrews Academy, said: “This new school is an incredible achievement in designing and building a new 21st century educational and sports facility. It is a real credit to all those involved and to the collaborative ‘will do’ approach taken by the designers and contractors alike. The pupils are in awe and this is just a different world to the one they have been used to and they’re extremely excited about it; and rightly so, they are very lucky children.”

Based in Bury St Edmunds, Sunsquare is an award-winning rooflight manufacturer and the first designer and manufacturer to achieve a British Standards Institution (BSI) Kitemark.

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