Heron Bridge College, Johannesburg

Project: Heron Bridge College, Johannesburg

A natural ventilation system from SE Controls Africa is helping create a cooler and improved learning environment for pupils and staff at independent Heron Bridge College co-educational school in Northern Johannesburg.

Founded in 2001 on the site of a previous school, the facilities have been refurbished, updated and gradually expanded. While in its first year, Heron Bridge College only offered education for pre-primary aged children, it now provides a full curriculum for students across the entire age range up to Grade 12.

All of Heron Bridge College’s buildings are architect designed to create a high quality learning environment and SE Controls was invited to evaluate the new College School hall to assess its suitability to incorporate natural ventilation into the design.

Working alongside Anderson Architects and installed by Robertson Ventilation Industries (RVI), SE Controls Africa developed a solution that would allow indoor air temperatures to be reduced. By utilising the principles of thermal stacking, cross flow ventilation and utilising natural elements including the cooler air around a nearby river to create air movement, this allowed hot stale air to be replaced with cooler fresh air and help create a better learning environment.

The solution also takes advantage of the local wind direction and pressure characteristics, which allows fresh air to enter the building through windows and doors, which are manually opened on the windward side of the school hall when pupils enter the hall to create cross ventilation pressure within the building.

To enable the opening of the windows, SE Controls installed 52 compact SECO 40 chain actuators with a 500mm stroke to automate the high level windows as part of a design developed by Anderson Architects and SE Controls to create the best natural ventilation solution the building.

Eight manual open and close switches were also installed to provide flexible operation of the system.

Russell Cramb, Business development Manager with SE Controls Africa, said: “We have completed numerous projects within the education sector from pre-school up to universities to help improve the learning environment for pupils and staff through natural ventilation solutions or enhance safety with our smoke ventilation systems. The Heron Bridge project allowed us to use this diverse expertise to develop an effective solution, which precisely met the unique demands of the college.”