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Energy efficient renovation of facades improves learning of children.
Solbjerg school is a good example of the added value that can be realised by improving the indoor climate at a minimum extra cost when renovating facades in schools.
Recent research in Danish schools shows that in more than 50 per cent of cases, the air quality does not meet requirements. This is a problem for that affects the students’ learning ability and concentration, which has wider societal ramifications. In comparison to adults, a bad indoor environment is more critical for children, as they are still developing. In fact, children can miss the equivalent of one educational year due to a poor indoor climate.
Improved indoor climate creates added value
A holistic approach to the renovation of a school in Solbjerg in Aarhus created added benefits by improving the indoor climate. This was done by increasing the air change rate using natural ventilation through new façade modules. The natural ventilation air intake is located in the upper part of the façade modules. The air is then supplied through the entire area of the newly installed permeable ceiling, creating draught free conditions in the classrooms. Furthermore, the windows have built-in solar shading, Microshades. The façade modules are prefabricated and designed with respect to the existing building geometry and usage.
Added value in connection with future energy efficient façade renovation
The façades required additional controls for the natural ventilation openings and the existing mechanical exhaust. However, the added value of an improved indoor climate is massive when compared to the minimal additional capital investment. In the period after the renovation (from 2010 to 2017) the average graduation grades (GPA) improved by 20 per cent. Additionally, absence due to illness was reduced from 5.1 per cent to 2.6 per cent. In energy efficient facade renovation, focus is often limited entirely to heat loss, but a holistic approach to solving indoor climate leads to added value for projects with improved results across parameters.
Despite huge investments in energy optimisation in Danish schools since 2010, measurements indicate that the indoor air quality has not improved significantly. The Solbjerg case is a good example of the potential to improve the indoor climate when renovating façades in schools.