Blackfriars Academy is a mixed special school of approximately 120 pupils, covering an age range of 11 to 19. The school is made up of many different areas and blocks inc. teaching areas, medical rooms, a large sports hall & a hydro swimming pool.

Approximately18 months ago, Simon Bryan, project manager for Shaw Education Trust undertook a condition survey of the school buildings and noted the amount of energy that was being wasted within the building. The main issues included:

  • Poor, 20+ year old boiler plant and hot water calorifier.
  • Poor, obsolete Building Management System (BMS).
  • Old, inefficient fluorescent internal lighting
  • Old inefficient external and car park lighting.
  • Very inefficient and poor pool air handling, heating & ventilation

Due to rapid rise of energy costs and the soring energy bills Shaw Education Trust make it a priority to develop a plan to tackle the energy inefficiencies. The energy saving program started just over 12 months ago and to date the following works have been completed:

  • Installation of an insulated pool cover - Blackfriars hydro swimming pool runs at a temperature of 33 degrees, therefore the cost of heating the pool to this constant temperature is extremely high- with lots of the pool heat lost into the atmosphere.  To make the pool more efficient a pool cover was purchased. The pool cover has excellent heat retention qualities – saving up to 85% of total heat loss. It also helps with reducing chemical evaporation and condensation. The school hope the pool cover will pay back the initial investment in less than 12 months.


  • Upgrade to LED lighting - Working alongside the electrical contractor Bourne Electrical a LED lighting design was completed and it was decided to split the upgrade over three phases.  So far two phases of LED lighting installation have taken place with the first phase concentrating on all the high use areas such as circulation spaces, reception, the sports hall & main hall. Phase 2 continued with more circulation areas but also covered some classrooms where dimmable fittings were used. Upgrading the lighting to LED has provided lighter, brighter, and more appealing classrooms, as well as reducing the school’s energy consumption and reduced long-term maintenance costs. The new light fittings are at least 50% more energy efficient than the old T8 fluorescent fittings that they replaced and will pay back the initial investment in a few years. Phase 3 of the LED lighting is planned in the near future which will complete the full install.


  • Upgrade External Lighting to LED - All external lights have been upgraded to LED, this not only reduces energy consumption but also provides much better brighter light to outdoor spaces and car parks – enhancing the security of the building and reducing maintenance costs.


  • Installation of Heat Recovery Air Handling - Working with the M&E contractor Ford Mainwaring the existing inefficient heating & ventilation system was de-commissioned and removed in the swimming pool area and a new Heat Recovery (MVHR) Air handling unit was installed. Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery provides fresh filtered air into a pool area whilst retaining most of the energy that has already been used in heating the pool– which makes it a much more efficient way to heat the area. The new unit also included a control panel to automatically control humidity and temperature in the pool area. New insulated ductwork was manufactured & installed complete with a treated lining for swimming pool atmosphere and powder coated white for aesthetic view in pool area. 


  • Installation of New Boiler Plant & Building Management System - The latest and largest energy efficiency project at the school has seen the replacement of the existing plant room equipment. New Remeha efficient condensing boilers have been recently installed complete with new Grundfos pumps and a water-to-water plate heat exchanger serving the hot water system. To complete the project a new control panel incorporating the latest TREND IQ4 BMS controls have been installed to interface with the new boiler plant and external heating equipment. This new control package along with the new high-efficiency boiler and the heating plant will show the school considerable energy savings in the coming years. Like the AHU project the project was completed by Ford Mainwaring with Demma completing the work on the BMS.


Over the next 12 Months, Shaw Education Trust will be monitoring the energy usage on the site to see the impact of the all the projects. It is hoped that all above work make some substantial savings on energy costs, with the money saved being re-invested back into the school and the teaching environments.