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Fri May 27 2022

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Bam raises the bar with net zero school

3 Nov 21 Bam Construction has been selected to build what is being described as a “net-zero pathfinder school” for the Department for Education.

Southam College is designed to be net zero in operation
Southam College is designed to be net zero in operation

Southam College in Warwickshire is being used as a pilot scheme to demonstrate best practice in sustainable design for building new schools.

The new £30m building for the school is designed to achieve net zero carbon emissions and low energy use, with passive design, biophilic design, climate resilience, and health and wellbeing elements. The scheme is expected to set the bar for how schools are built in the future.

Bam’s is not just the main contractor but its design team is lead architect, and it has conducted extensive energy and climate modelling, interior design, and is providing the school with a strategy for achieving a net zero carbon in operation.  It is also behind the structural engineering and the design of the plumbing and electrics.

Dave Ellis, Bam’s regional director in the Midlands, said: “The building will be net zero in operation, and we are also reducing the embodied carbon – the carbon in the actual materials used in the construction. We’ve evaluated the base design and produced a range of options to reduce embodied carbon. 

“What we learn from Southam College will feed into the department’s wider approach to reducing carbon in the education field.”

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Southam College, part of Stowe Valley Multi Academy Trust, is a secondary school with 1,652 pupils. Bam’s construction work has to avoid disrupting school life, as far as possible. Bam has just started enabling works and is expected to complete by September 2024.

New facilities will include science labs, a hall, drama facilities, art room, photographic facilities, food tech areas, music rooms, a sixth form hub, reception, and a special educational needs base.

Head teacher Ranjit Samra said: "The new school design meets the highest environmental and sustainability standards and will be a symbol of how much we value our students, staff and wider community. It will help to raise expectations that anything is possible."

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