As students across the UK start the new academic year, the education sector remains a key focus for the construction industry with schemes like the Department of Education’s School Rebuilding Programme striving to improve the quality and efficiency of our schools and colleges. We’re proud to have a successful track record of working on various educational facilities and in our latest blog, we look at how aluminium doors, windows and curtain wall systems can help create inspirational learning environments.
Aluminium windows solutions
It’s essential to choose thermally-efficient windows that not only meet the required lower U-value targets but also contribute to an effective ventilation strategy and aluminium windows can effectively achieve this. However, it’s important to consider energy-efficiency when windows are closed, and imperative to factor in safety when they are open. Thermally-efficient parallel push aluminium windows can provide a good solution. With hinges on all sides of the frame, this type of window can be easily pushed open and yet will remain parallel to the wall, helping to reduce the risk of falls or trapped fingers whilst offering effective ventilation.
Low U-value aluminium windows can also boost the efficiency of interior layouts. By preventing cold air from entering the room, the use of the low value U-values such as our PURe® system means radiators can be moved from their conventional position underneath the window to free up valuable floor and wall space and provide greater flexibility in terms of arranging furniture and planning interior layouts.
It was this combination of thermal efficiency and design flexibility that has seen our patented low U-value PURe® aluminium window system specified on numerous education projects contracts across the UK, including multiple framework contracts with main contractor Bowmer and Kirkland.
Aluminium doors and entrance systems
Safety and security are the prime considerations when specifying doors in educational settings and again, aluminium systems are ideally suited. Strong and robust aluminium commercial doors can be adapted to meet specific requirements, in terms of accessible thresholds, hardware and opening styles, and can be powder-coated in a choice of colours and finishes.
Automatic doors are particularly effective main entrance systems for schools and importantly, reduce the number of touch-points that can contribute to the spread of bacteria and viruses. The durability of aluminium framed door systems can also reduce maintenance requirements and are well suited for use in high traffic areas such as large secondary school or higher education facilities.
Aluminium curtain wall systems
The use of aluminium curtain walling can transform a building’s façade, maximising natural light and creating a clear connection with the outside areas. Whether curtain walling is being used to frame a striking external entrance, create a feature glazed atrium or is installed internally to ‘zone’ open-plan communal spaces, choosing a slim-profile system will create a much sleeker effect.
Mitigating solar gain is also a key consideration when a building incorporates a large amount of glazing and here, the use of a louvre system can not only help but can add another aesthetic detail. Choosing a curtain wall system that is fully compatible with the specified aluminium windows and doors is another way to create a more energy-efficient façade.
Challenges and collaboration
Creating light and space is an important way to boost mental wellbeing and concentration and aluminium fenestration systems are a popular choice for the education sector. But the extensive use of glazing requires careful consideration to ensure high levels of energy-efficiency and manage the risks of overheating through solar gain. This challenge of balancing aesthetics with technical performance has been brought into further focus with the new changes to the Building Regulations. Specifiers and facilities managers must now look at ways to not only reduce the carbon footprint of new and refurbished school buildings, but to also lower the monetary operational and maintenance costs.
Fortunately, help is at hand. Early engagement with supply chain partners and product manufacturers can help ensure that specified systems not only make the grade in terms of design flexibility and technical performance, but are also robust enough to stand the test of time.
When it comes to future-proofing schools, colleges and universities for the next generation of students and energy-efficiency targets, aluminium fenestration systems can really exceed expectations.