Buntingford First School

Constructing Excellence

Designed to the Passivhaus standard, and targeting low embodied carbon materials, Buntingford First School opened its doors in September 2023 in Hertfordshire. The school has been developed by Hertfordshire County Council as a pilot to achieve “the first fully net zero carbon school in England” and, once certified, will be Hertfordshire’s first Passivhaus school.

When it comes to buildings, achieving Net Zero is a two-fold challenge; through the construction, but also in the building’s operational lifetime. Early-stage consultation alongside main contractor, Morgan Sindall and architects Holmes Miller, allowed the project team to plan accordingly. The solutions produced now create a blueprint for other schools in meeting demanding emissions-saving targets.

A cross-laminated timber (CLT) frame, over 300 solar panels, triple-glazing windows and air-source heat pumps will all be installed, with the school also set to include a rooftop outdoor space and play areas. As part of the design, all teaching spaces will face north, avoiding south-facing windows that can cause rooms to overheat.

On completion, the project also offered HCC a template for project delivery, taking best practice from building bulletins and DfE guidance, and enhancing to create a truly carbon neutral, contextual school.

Three Winning Facts:
  1. Net zero carbon in both construction and operation – the first wholly NZC in England
  2. Beats the embodied carbon target of 600kg of CO2 per square metre – set by the Low Energy Transformation Initiative (LETI) – by 50%.
  3. Surpassing an airtightness target of 0.6 ach (0.25 ach)