West Lothian has one of the best school estates in Scotland, thanks to ongoing investment throughout the area. It has recently added a new £1.5 million state-of-the-art Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) centre next to the Blackridge primary school to its portfolio.
What’s extra special about this new building is that it is a modern, purpose-built Passivhaus standard nursery. Passivhaus buildings are specially designed to provide users with enhanced thermal comfort using virtually no energy for heating or cooling – this is the first nursery of its kind for the region and only the second non-domestic Passivhaus building in Scotland.
Built by Morrison Construction, the facility will provide up to 64 spaces for eligible two, three, and four-year-olds. The development includes a new 3G floodlit Multi Use Games Area (MUGA) and dedicated parking and drop-off facilities directly off Main Street.
WGM consulting engineers supplied the M&E design package and specified Thorn Lighting to meet the demands of the new service due to its product portfolio for education. EJ Parker installed the lighting scheme.
Following the Passivhaus concept and to keep carbon emissions low, the lighting was required to be low energy while providing optimum comfort for teaching staff and learners alike. Secondly, the client wanted to create a welcoming environment to facilitate a learning atmosphere.
A broad range of the Thorn Lighting family of luminaires was selected to light the complete building from the continuous suspended IQ Waves in the main nursery space, Omega Pro 2 in the offices and kitchen, Chalice in the toilets and corridors to R2L2 in the external car park.
Young children acquire social and emotional skills in their first few years of life, such as regulating emotions, sharing with others, and following instructions. These skills set the foundation for developing literacy, numeracy, and other critical cognitive abilities for later school and life. Lighting can influence the effectiveness of the learning setting, and IQ Wave was the ideal choice. Its innovative, patented optics offer excellent uniformity and glare control with direct/indirect light for illuminance on faces and walls to encourage a comfortable, communicative learning environment.
The entrances, however, were the main features of the project. As the first point of contact for children and parents, the lobby should be warm, motivating, and inviting. The brief was to make them stand out from the rest of the nursery.
To achieve this, the team took a different direction and designed a suspended rectangular arrangement of the elegant Thorn Equaline, a flexible and modular system. The Equaline configuration delivers 1,760 lumens per metre in a bright white light (4000K). The effect is a stunning statement piece that emits a welcoming and stimulating light.
Elsie Aitken, Development Officer at West Lothian Council, says, “‘The lighting is great because it’s flexible and allows the room to be lit to meet the children’s needs. Outdoor play is an important part of the school’s curriculum, so it is great that the external lights will allow the children to play outdoors in the autumn and really enhance the look of the building.”
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