Ground Source Heat Pump Design
King Edward VI Handsworth School for Girls, New Library

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

Biomass Heating & PV Retrofit
Bradeley Village Retirement Community

Project Overview

Existing heating boilers at Bradeley Village retirement community in Stoke-on-Trent were reaching the end of their serviceable life. Staffordshire Housing Association sought a replacement solution that would reduce exposure to increasing gas costs and take advantage of support for low carbon heating via the renewable heat incentive (RHI). Due to the daytime electrical base load, the site was also recognised as ideal for roof mounted PV supported by Feed in Tariff (FIT) incentives.


Bradeley village is a sheltered housing village with 238 apartments and communal facilities including gen-eral store, coffee shop, gym, hair salon, laundry and extensive indoor communal areas. Briar in-vestigated the feasibility then designed and project managed procurement & installation of a roof mounted PV array and replacement of existing gas boilers with a biomass & efficient gas boiler solution.

Project Main Features: Heating

Five twenty year old 54kW gas boilers located in two plant rooms were replaced with a single 195kW wood pellet biomass boiler (lead) and two 85kW fully modulating gas boilers (lag role), associated plant room equipment was modernised and a 30m3 pellet silo was housed in a purpose built brick extension.


  • Plant consolidated into one energy centre
  • Heating system refurbished
  • Roughly equivalent running costs & £23k/yr RHI income mean investment pay back in 12 years
  • Carbon dioxide emissions reduced by 43 tonnes per annum.

Project Main Features: PV

Two hundred 250Wp mono-crystalline PV panels were installed on the south facing pitched roof providing a 50kWp array. The bulk of low carbon electric-ity generated will be consumed within the site therefore maximising the benefit of avoided grid electricity purchase along with receipt of FIT.


  • Savings and FIT income of £9,700 per year
  • Low carbon electricity generated saves 22 tonnes of CO2 a year
  • Investment paid back in under 8 years