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Morgan Sindall Professional Services attains 'Outstanding' recognition for 'green' school design

Consultancy achieves BREEAM outstanding status for Carnegie Primary School.

A project team, which included the multidisciplinary design consultancy Morgan Sindall Professional Services and Archial, an award-winning, international architectural practice has designed a primary school that makes maximum use of natural light, wind and water and has become the first school of its kind in the UK to achieve the highest official recognition for its green credentials.

The Carnegie Primary School in Fife was certified as 'outstanding' in an official BREEAM assessment – the recognised standard for innovation in sustainable building design – after Morgan Sindall Professional Services and Archial maximised an open brief to propose a design that was not only 'green' in its ambition, but was also sympathetic to its surroundings and practical for everyday school and where appropriate, community use.

'Outstanding' buildings make up less than one percent of all new construction, because the design has to go further than best practice; in order to achieve this recognition innovative design must bring new and impactful examples to sustainable architecture. Carnegie's gym and dining hall provide just that. The two rooms are separated by a folding partition and both when the room is split and used as one space, it is naturally ventilated and delivers high daylight factors of five percent.

Rainwater, collected in a 45,000-litre underground storage tank, is used to flush school toilets, which reduces the fresh water demand by 50 percent. A 15kW wind turbine is included as an additional power source, helping to reduce operating costs, carbon emissions and even to generate income for the school through the Feed in Tariff government scheme. Dynamic simulation software was used to position windows to maximise natural light and reduce lighting needs by up to 90 percent.

From the outset, Morgan Sindall Professional Services considered every aspect of the school's energy and engineering requirements with sustainability in mind. Its ambition was matched by the local council's own aspiration to become the greenest council in Scotland.

Robbie Mckillop, public sector director for Morgan Sindall Professional Services, believes that the bar has now been raised:

"This 'outstanding' certification shows what can be achieved even with comparatively modest budgets," he says. "We look forward to using the experience and skills that we now have in other innovative design projects within the public sector where demand for 'sustainability' is increasingly a priority."

The school, which was built within its £8 million budget, was commended for its design in the 2012 Scottish Design Awards and was a regional finalist in the Civic Trust 2013 awards.