Monodraught have again sponsored one of the latest CIBSE Journal CPD modules. This module explores some of the main influences and requirements for the updated BB101 guidance for indoor environmental quality and standards in schools.
Supplying appropriate indoor environmental quality in schools can be challenging for building designers, and the freely accessible, recently updated BB101 is designed to offer guidance by detailing the required standards and assisting with selection processes. This CPD will consider some of the significant areas that are encompassed in the 2018 revision to BB101.
The guidelines relate to any new school buildings and refurbishment of existing buildings and will be renewed in 2022. The Department for Education consulted on the guidelines with the input of many third party companies and academics institutions.
SINPHONIE project (Schools Indoor Pollution and Health – Observatory Network in Europe), funded by the European Parliament and supported by the European Commission, was the first Europe-wide pilot project to monitor the school environment and children’s health in parallel in 23 European countries. SINPHONIE has been a milestone project, which has provided standardised methodologies and tools for better characterising schools’ indoor environments and assessing the health risks to schoolchildren and staff.
The guidelines address issues around global warming and the need to reduce carbon emissions. The ability to use low energy solutions has a positive effect on energy bills and therefore school budgets. Many older school buildings struggle with internal heat gains due to additional equipment such as IT resources used since the building was constructed. Ambient noise can be also be a problem when using only natural ventilation. For example opening the windows can make classrooms too noisy, traffic volumes have increased significantly since many schools were built.
The BB101 guidelines address multiple interdependent areas including lighting, accoutics, ventilation and thermal comfort in schools.
1. Lighting comfort
There have been many research projects in the education sector that have linked daylighting with increased achievement rates, health and attendance. Historically, many classrooms were predominantly lit using large vertical windows at the back of the room. By applying natural daylighting systems, a classroom can be supplied with 300% more daylight, while also reducing the lighting energy cost significantly.
Research has shown that there can be a conflict between classrooms built in this style as they may not be thermally comfortable due to being much warmer in the summer and potentially draughty in the winter. Glare can also become an issue. CIBSE Lighting Guide LG5, ‘Lighting in Education’ gives the criteria for lighting design in schools.
2. Thermal comfort
On occasions, there can be some conflicts in terms of thermal comfort. A building which is mechanically controlled for thermal comfort may have an adverse impact on acoustics or air quality. Different people can be thermally comfortable at very different temperatures because of their individual thermal histories and expectations.
3. Air Quality
Good air quality is an essential element of the BB101 guidelines. It is measured using CO² levels and is ensured as a result of good natural, hybrid or mechanical ventilation that brings in and circulates fresh air whilst removing pollutants from the atmosphere. Air pollution can originate from inside the room, such as furniture or occupants or externally. In recent years there has been a heightened focus on external pollutants near schools and classrooms such as traffic or industry and the effect it can have on school children’s health.
4. Acoustic comfort
Acoustic comfort is another area where historically conflict could arise between the guidelines for noise levels and interference and ventilation needs. Previously some argued that it was difficult to use natural ventilation in schools and still meet the requirements for acoustic comfort, but tests showed it is possible to meet these requirements. In the case of mechanical ventilation, good acoustic attenuation is required in order not to exceed the required noise levels set out in BB 93.
Building simulation and BB101
Building simulation is a key element of the new BB101 guidelines. It ensures the design of the ventilation systems can provide acceptable indoor air quality and thermal comfort levels. Dynamic thermal simulation software enables building systems designers to provide predicted performance of buildings and test compliance criteria before their construction or refurbishment. Results from such simulations are heavily dependent on the internal and external parameters (e.g. weather file, occupancy profile and internal gains) and also assessment criteria.
Complete the CIBSE module questions to gain CPD credits.
Be sure to read through the full module on the CIBSE Journal website or in your magazine and complete the questionnaire to qualify for your CPD credits.