Top eco marks for Built Environment Consulting on new £20m school development


A leading East Midlands mechanical and electrical engineering firm has started work on a state-of-the-art school facility with the latest energy-saving principles.

The creation of Wixams Academy and Wixams Tree Primary in Bedford, will provide thousands of pupils and staff a much-needed fit for purpose and environmentally conscious learning facility.

Using its expertise in thermal and natural ventilation modelling, Castle Donnington-based Built Environment Consulting (BEC) has undertaken the full building services design of the academy for client Bedford Borough Council.

The development will see the creation of a 6,000mthree-storey secondary school and sixth form college with two halls and catering kitchen facility, plus, a two-storey 14-classroom primary school, also with hall and catering kitchen facilities. The buildings will be surrounded by green space, walkways and cycle lanes.

BEC is overseeing the installation of a range of top-specification low-energy features including the use of natural daylight, natural ventilation and automatic LED lighting.

Associate at BEC, Matthew Faulkner, said: “This is a forward thinking and innovative project that will provide a state-of-the-art learning facility for young people to enjoy for generations to come.

“As a firm, we have much experience in installing energy efficient features. In this build we have utilised natural daylight within teaching spaces, optimised the function of energy-efficient products such as LED lighting combined with automatic lighting controls/daylight dimming, created a natural ventilation strategy and use high-efficiency plant and equipment.

“The addition of small-scale photovoltaic panels as a renewable energy source will also contribute to the school’s low-energy strategy.”

Nottingham architectural practice Lungfish, which has worked in partnership with BEC on a number of previous education projects, including schools in Warwick and Nottingham, has designed Wixams Academy.

Fran Cox at Bedford Borough Council, said: “The academy has been designed to maximise energy efficiency to reduce running costs and carbon footprint. It’s eco credentials are at the heart of this scheme and were an integral part of the project brief.

“The new academy will become an important part of the local community and a building we can really be proud of.”

Supported by the government’s EFA (Education Funding Agency), Wixams Academy is part of a new community of 4,500 new homes, employment land, shops and recreational facilities three miles south of Bedford.

The academy is scheduled for completion this summer, with the first pupils arriving in September.