Choosing the correct HVAC system for your educational facility
Heating and cooling ceiling systems
As an educational facility, it’s important to choose HVAC systems with your pupils’ wellbeing at the forefront, while also adhering to costs, funding and financial aspects, too. Read more from our detailed guide on HVAC systems for the education sector.
Why is choosing the correct heating and ventilation system for your school so important?
HVAC in Education
1. Funding for schools is notoriously limited, so make every penny count.
▪️ NEU (National Education Union) reported that £5.4b has been cut from the schools budgets in England since 2015.
2. Making sure that children and young adults have a suitable learning temperature is a recurring cost for schools and academies.
▪️ The Carbon Trust reports that systems for heating rooms and heating water in a building is responsible for almost two-thirds of that building’s energy consumption.
3. HVAC systems in schools can affect the health and wellbeing of the pupils.
▪️ The risk of burns from radiators, particularly with younger children, can be greatly reduced with low surface temperature convectors.
▪️ A stable room temperature in dining areas is essential in reducing the incidence of food-borne illnesses. According to FoodSafety.org, over 42,000 nursery or school age children are at-risk from salmonella infections.
4. Having the learning environment too warm or too cold can easily negatively affect the concentration and knowledge attainment levels in the classroom.
▪️ We have all experienced the feeling of becoming agitated or stressed when the room is too warm and slow and lethargic when the room is too cold.
5. Finding a safe time for maintenance and installation is schools is difficult.
▪️The six weeks holiday during the summer has always been the time for educational maintenance and time that schools use to install HVAC systems, mechanical ventilation systems for positive input ventilation, air curtains, heaters, and coolers. So, having one company that can provide all your heating and ventilation needs, with quick delivery times, is key – which is where Biddle steps in.
We have used the points above and produced the following guide as to how you can best choose the correct heating systems for your school, academy, college, or university.
Every school is different
While all educational facilities exist to provide learning environments, there are many differences that set them apart from one another - such as the number of children in attendance, the age of the buildings and the culture. The water and heating systems can also be unique.
Taking all this into consideration, there are common foundations that should be kept in mind when considering HVAC for the education sector.
The following will help and guide you through the Biddle climate solutions, which have been specifically designed to fit perfectly in educational settings. We will start where all our educational journeys started – with nursery schools.
The Biddle low surface temperature fan convector heater is ideal for environments where safety is a key concern.
▪️ Safe around small children - the exterior of the unit has been designed to be smooth with rounded edges, so accidental knocks and collisions will keep the little ones away from plasters and allow them to continue playing and learning.
▪️ Finger proof grills - our pencil and finger proof grill prevents items – such as pegs, toys, pencils, pens, and sticks – being inserted into the heat source of the fan convector.
▪️ NHS compliant - the fan convector unit always has a low surface temperature on the front and side casings. This is so any burns are compliant with the NHS guidelines, but also give peace of mind when children are near them. Biddle’s fan convector units have been thoroughly tested by BSRIA (see report here) and Forceflow LST is possibly the only fan convector complying with DHSS Engineering Data DN4 and NHS Estates Health Guidance Note ‘ Safe Hot Water and Surface Temperatures’ 1998 (less than 43°C surface temperature with water flow temperatures of 80°C).
▪️ Excellent heat distribution - although the temperature of the casing is low for safety, the unit still provides excellent heat distribution, is quick to heat up and very simple and swift to install.
Primary and secondary schools
Classrooms and corridors
Reception and Key Stage 1 classrooms also choose the Biddle low surface temperature fan convectors for their safety features, but as you progress up the educational system most schools – particularly for corridors – also use Biddle Forceflow H2 Select Fan Convectors.
The entire range can be wall mounted and are incredibly durable and suited to the knocks and bumps that can be expected in school classrooms and corridors.
The Biddle Forceflow range of fan convectors can be seen in schools across the UK and have been installed for use from one generation of pupil to the next.
There are significant benefits to choosing fan convectors as opposed to other heating options such as underfloor heating or convection radiators.
▪️ Cheaper - in terms of both installation and maintenance costs, convection heaters are much cheaper.
▪️ Responsive - they are also considerably more responsive in providing heat when it is required.
▪️ Optimum learning environment - they distribute heat by fan convection allowing warm air to flow around the room and can be provided with external thermostats and switches. In doing so, they create the perfect environment for learning.
▪️ Easier fitting - it is significantly easier to maintain and fix wall mounted fan convectors. With underfloor heating there are often problems isolating and locating the fault and the fix will always involve disruption to the flooring.
Biddle Fan Convectors are available in a wide choice of colours, and whilst many schools opt for the standard white, others like to make a feature of rooms and halls by selecting a colour to match or contrast with their décor, particularly in reception areas.
Toilets are only intermittently used throughout the day and, for energy efficiency reasons, often heated to lower temperatures than other parts of the school.
Biddle Forceflow fan convectors are a great solution for heating schools and classrooms and due to their versatility and the fact that they can be manufactured in multiple styles and sizes, educational facilities also choose to install fan convectors in their toilets.
Halls, Gyms, Larger Classrooms
Large open spaces are never easy to heat from cold and a challenge to keep at a controlled temperature. In a busy sports or assembly hall environment, wall mounted radiators can become problematic – posing trip hazards or injury risks, particularly if sports activities are planned. The Biddle NOZ2 air heater features six adjustable nozzles that can be individually positioned to provide optimum air distribution throughout the large space. Using a technologically advanced 'mixed flow' fan, air is discharged through the nozzles at high velocity, thus inducing movement of the surrounding air and resulting in improved mixing and temperature distribution.
Automatic heat where it is needed
The NOZ2 can all be supplied and fitted with automatic controls. This allows the unit to constantly maintain a set temperature. The energy efficient (EC) fans have stepless control, which ensures the fan runs at the optimum speed. The NOZ2 energy efficiency is further enhanced by using the fans to provide destratification so that the warm air at ceiling level is re-used to automatically maintain a comfortable working environment at floor level. All this is achieved without any need for the user to adjust the controls.
Why not underfloor heating?
▪️ Underfloor heating by its very nature is not suited for use in an exercise area – and suffers from the fact that much of the warm air it creates will rise to the hall’s large ceiling.
Why not use conventional radiators?
▪️ The heat effects from radiant panels only warm the body directly rather than the air. So, as you move around the space you will be constantly met with cold pockets, which could cause irritation, loss of concentration, and may lead to injury. Learn more about convectors vs traditional radiators now.
Reception / Greeting Rooms and Foyers
The constant opening and closing of the external doors that lead into the educational facility often results in draughts, and thus make the space feel cold. As your visitors may be asked to sit for a period of time in a reception area, having a cold draughty environment is not a good first impression and certainly not comfortable for those working in the area.
What is the best solution for stopping draughts from doors?
Biddle have an extensive range of comfort air curtains that provide the best solutions for stopping cold air entering the building, but still allows for the doors to be opened. Learn more about how air curtains work from our detailed guide.
Find more information about HVAC systems in schools, or get in touch with our expert team now for advice and guidance on how to choose the perfect HVAC system.