Project Overview

Construction of a purpose built new library as part of the school’s Centenary celebrations. The facility provides a contemporary study centre for pupils and the project included a number of low carbon technologies, including low energy heating using ground source heat pumps, high efficiency lighting and natural ventilation.


Briar have supported the seven Schools of King Edward VI in Birmingham for over 8 years with the provision of independent low carbon design advice, full M&E design and project management for many projects, plus infrastructure upgrades and asset condition surveys.

Briar were appointed to provide expert low carbon feasibility advice, detailed mechanical and electrical services design and project management for the development of a new library at Handsworth School for Girls. The project successfully combined a modern and serene library facility with high tech, low carbon building services design.

To support the school’s aim of minimising the environmental impact of the new building, the build design integrated a number of cost effective, practical low carbon technologies, including ground source heat pumps that absorb heat from underground via a borehole system and serve a low energy underfloor heating (this technology benefits from the Renewable Heat Incentive). Other features include low energy lighting with automatic daylight dimming controls, a Monodraught natural ventilation system and an advanced building control system that manages the various energy savings features. The result is a building that has minimised long-term energy consumption, carbon emissions and ensured low running costs throughout its lifetime.

The new library supports teaching and learning by providing a collection of resources relevant to the curriculum and wider personal interests. It creates a place of equal access for all, providing a flagship, low energy learning facility for both staff and students. The development also demonstrates how cutting edge low carbon technologies can be successfully and cost effectively integrated into modern teaching facilities. The project was delivered in association with Crouch Butler Chartered Architects, Birmingham.

Project Main Features

  • Low energy (borehole) ground source heat pumps serving an underfloor heating system
  • Integrated natural ventilation system with Monodraught Windcatchers
  • Low energy lighting design (12W/m2) with automatic daylight dimming controls
  • Bespoke heating and ventilation control system
  • Solar shading roof design to ensure comfortable summertime temperatures without air conditioning
Project value: £1.2m
M&E value: £200,000
Floor area: 850m2
Location: Birmingham
Project date: 2010
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