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Conference Programme 2023



14 Nov 2023
Stage 1

A fresh air approach to delivering learning environments
Sarah Usher, Head of Business Development, Kilpatrick Blane Services

The Scottish Governments Net Zero Public Buildings Standard prescribes the creation of education environments which enhance acoustics, indoor air quality, natural light and thermal comfort. We also require those environments to support productivity, wellbeing and be sustainable in their components, construction and emissions. That’s no small feat!

Natural ventilation to most of us just means manually opening a window. That’s helpful when there is a pandemic or we need to let heat or smells out, but not great when it’s blowing a gale, and our Scottish horizonal rain is hitting students in the back of the neck as we attempt to achieve BB101. Wellbeing demands local control but in order to maintain optimal learning environments a teacher would have to adjust their classroom windows 160 times a day (WindowMaster, 2016).

Relying on MVHR is great to heat, cool and filter, however we still need manually operable windows, and doors to access outdoor learning. As a species we are slow to respond to thermal discomfort (Dantsiou, 2015; de Dear, 1991), we tend to ignore traffic light warnings to act (Ackerly, 2011) and with that unregulated local control comes a large hole in the building efficiency.

We examine data from European Schools with intelligent natural ventilation systems or hybrid systems (part INV, part MVHR) and find significantly increased wellbeing, health and productivity scores as well as improved use of building space.

By utilising intelligent mixed mode approaches we see consistent reductions in both embodied and operational carbon too. The embodied carbon of MVHR ducting in an entire 3-18 campus is exorbitant and retrofitting it into our stock of older schools is problematic. It is possible to use both systems intelligently, complementing each through collaborative façade and M&E design, delivering “as designed” real world outcomes and huge benefits to the experience of learners.

Internet of Things - Connecting Learning Environments with Learning Experiences
Vikki Young, Teacher & IoT Project Lead; Fiona Stewart, Head Teacher, East Calder Primary School & Pupils

Construction has commenced on a replacement East Calder Primary School in West Lothian – a £18.3m project funded by Scottish and Local Government as part of LEIP. Pupils and staff will share their understanding of Internet of Things (IoT) and how it can be applied in their new school building.

The lead teacher will introduce the session and contextualise the IoT project. How IoT has become one of the most important technologies of the 21st Century for industry and connectivity. The school are part of a pilot project, a sector leading initiative bringing the latest smart technologies into classrooms.

A number of pupils closely involved in the project, will be on stage to discuss and share examples of their positive learner journey including:

  • How the first lesson ‘The Class Who fell asleep’ was a great hook for pupils and an introduction to exploring their environment.
  • How live data from environmental school sensors e.g. temperature, light levels, humidity, CO2 and movement has been analysed to help in the planning and design of learning spaces.
  • A planned visit to the new Beatlie School Campus when it opens in August 2023 to review its high spec smart and assistive technology.
  • Their collaborative working with Atelier ten M&E consultants.
  • A video will show the pupils collecting and analysing data from school environmental sensors.

The presentation will conclude with the Head Teacher who will share the impact of the IoT project on the school community, possibilities for teaching and learning and how planning for IoT with new build projects can support a change in culture and behaviour of building users.


Craig Heap, Director - Holmes Miller
Sarah Usher, Transformation and Strategy Director - Kilpatrick Blane Services
Vikki Young, Teacher & IoT Project Lead - East Calder Primary School
Fiona Stewart, Head Teacher - East Calder Primary School
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