St Sophia's Primary School - Dynamic Simulation Modelling Guide

East Ayrshire

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IES Consulting carried out detailed Dynamic Simulation Modelling, in line with its modelling guide produced as part of the Net-Zero Public Buildings Standard, for this Primary School refurbishment project.

Key Facts

  • Pathfinder project for Net Zero Public Building Standard
  • IES Consultants authored Dynamic Simulation Modelling guide for the standard
  • Modelling predicts classroom temperatures which remain below 25°C year-round; an improvement from the original analysis
  • Applying the modelling guide to this retrofit project has identified a predicted 71% reduction in energy consumption per year

The renovation of St Sophia’s Primary School with architect Hamson Barron Smith was one of the Pathfinder Projects for the ‘Net Zero Public Building Standard’. IES Consultants used the Standard’s dynamic simulation modelling guide, authored by IES, to predict the operation of the 1950s school building in order for it to become EnerPHit certified. This is a Passive House standard intended for refurbishments with more flexibility to accommodate common retrofitting challenges. East Ayrshire Council aimed  for the refurbishment to achieve very high levels of operational energy efficiency and indoor environmental quality

The new guide to Dynamic Simulation Modelling for Net-Zero buildings, produced and written by IES’s VE consultants, was commissioned as part of the Scottish Net Zero Public Buildings Standard. The guide signals a step change to the way in which modelling has previously been performed on public sector buildings. It is a significant step forward in terms of the modelling of detailed building behaviour and project stakeholder collaboration that is required to support project teams achieving net zero carbon building design predictions which  can be verified in use.

The modelling process for St Sophia’s Primary School initially focused on balancing the needs of thermal comfort to those of visual comfort. The existing window apertures, while supporting good daylight levels, could potentially lead to higher solar gain, which elevate the risk of overheating problems during certain periods of the year. The modelling process involved the testing of various solar shading designs and resulted in a solution which maintained good visual comfort standards whilst minimising the risk of overheating.

Initial observations made during the dynamic simulation modelling revealed that classrooms now show temperatures which remain below 25°C year-round; an improvement from the original analysis. This takes into account the installation of louvred vents in four classrooms, supplemented by the opening windows to further benefit passive ventilation.

Applying the modelling guide to the school’s retrofit has identified a predicted 71% reduction in energy consumption per year and is informing the next stage of the design to allow the school to reach EnerPHit status while maintaining comfortable summertime temperatures.

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