Ark Academy, Wembley

Project: Ark Academy, Wembley

ARK Schools was established in 2004 to help break the cycle of underachievement in schools in the UK’s most challenging urban areas. There are now eight ARK Academies, their aim being to transform the educational opportunities and aspirations of all their pupils, providing the highest quality teaching, resources and support to enable them to flourish in a 21st century global community. The importance of global awareness is reflected and exemplified in the design of the recently built Ark Academy in Wembley. This new school incorporates features that support local and international policies designed to achieve a reduction in harmful emissions, in particular by the use of renewable energy sources. This compliance involved the commissioning of Andrews Water Heaters to supply two solar water heating systems and five award-winning direct fired storage water heaters to meet the hot water requirements of the new building. The system’s roof-mounted solar collectors comprise the largest surface area of Andrews’ glazed flat plate collectors so far installed in a single project.

The Academy, which has specialist status in mathematics and citizenship, is mixed and non-denominational. Completed and ready for occupation in September 2010, the new school buildings provide all-through, primary and secondary education to children aged from 3 to 18, half of whom come from Wembley, with the other half from the Stonebridge and Harlesden areas of London. In the 2010 Autumn term, primary school pupils transferred from their previous accommodation, whilst the first 180 Year 7 pupils were admitted to the new secondary school, housed in a special area which assists in the transition from primary to secondary education. September 2011 will see the introduction of a fresh Year 7 intake, adding to the first year group of secondary students, as well as the arrival of the fourth group of reception pupils as the primary school grows into Year 3.

The planning requirements for this project dictated that a percentage of renewable energy was to be utilised in order to reduce the school’s carbon footprint. The building services for Ark Academy were designed by MITIE Engineering Services South East Region Ltd. who also specified the Andrews SOLARflo water heating systems. A spokesman for the company commented: “The system was easy to install without using specialist labour and quick to commission. Since commissioning, the system has been operating without any problems and is easy to maintain.” The equipment supplied comprises two separate SOLARflo systems with a total of 150m2 of glazed flat plate collectors, along with five MAXXflo gas-fired storage water heaters which won the Queen’s Award for Innovation for their energy saving capabilities when they were introduced to the market.

The solar collectors are installed in two areas: on the flat roof of the primary school, where 100m2 serves the building housing both schools, whilst the separate sports building is served by 50m2 of collectors installed on the pitched roof. In the school building, the SOLARflo cylinder and ancillary plant, together with two MAXXflo water heaters, are located within the ground floor plantroom and serve classrooms, laboratories, kitchen, food tech room, toilet areas and tea points. Equipment in the sports building, including three MAXXflo water heaters, is located in the first floor plantroom, serving, showers and toilet areas. Water is preheated by the solar collectors, which are installed at an angle which optimises their efficiency and the heat is transferred to an unvented cylinder, in turn supplying the MAXXflo water heaters and thereby considerably reducing consumption of natural gas.

In addition to the glazed flat plate solar collectors and non-corrosive, stainless steel solar cylinder, the complete Solarflo package also includes solar controls, pump station, expansion vessels, first fill of heat transfer fluid and collector mounting accessories. The glazed flat plate collectors and stainless steel unvented cylinders in the range, carry a 10 year guarantee. A particular benefit of the Andrews system is that they are able to supply the whole package of matched equipment which makes procurement much more straight forward than combining components from various manufacturers.

The Andrews water heating package is designed to provide abundant, virtually instantaneous, domestic hot water to the entire building. MAXXflo units are ideal for buildings with a high demand for hot water, and particularly suitable for installations such as schools and sports facilities, where this demand peaks at particular times of the day. Thanks to their fast recovery rate and innovative design, carbon footprint, NOx levels and running costs are kept to a minimum. The Andrews MAXXflo CWH 120/300 models selected for this project are the largest in the range and feature robust stainless steel construction which ensures a long service life. Each has a storage capacity of 300 litres, an output of 26 to 122 kW and a recovery rate of 2040 litres per hour through a temperature rise of 50oC. The water heaters are controlled by a digital, electronic master controller which is provided with BMS and other external interfaces.