Montgomery School, Exeter

Project team

Client:Devon County Council

Architect:NPS Group (Exeter)

Project Manager/QS:NPS Group (Exeter)

M&E Engineer:NPS Group (Exeter)

Main Contractor:BAM

Date of completion:2012

Montgomery Primary School is the UK’s first zero carbon school built to the PassivHaus standard. The £9 million school, designed by Devon County Council and NPS Exeter, caters for 420 pupils plus a nursery.

The school was designed to meet the stringent PassivHaus standards which require buildings to have extremely low energy usage whilst providing excellent comfort conditions in both winter and summer.

The high thermal mass and airtightness of the precast concrete structure means that a traditional boiler isn’t required. Instead the ‘body’ of the ‘heat source’ are the pupils and teaching staff. The mechanical ventilation system has electric heater batteries in individual classrooms for extreme weather circumstances.

The school provides environmental and economic benefits through energy efficiency, for example:

  • High levels of insulation equating to a U value of 0.15W/m2K for the building envelope.
  • Concrete’s thermal mass is used as both a heating and cooling system, eliminating the need for energy-intensive heating and cooling.
  • Passivhaus energy savings standards were met.
  • Overall, the building’s energy savings equate to 25% of the typical energy used by a school of its size for heating, lighting and power.