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Pave Aways completes net zero carbon extension for Chester school

We have completed a £2.1m extension for a Chester school in time for the new building to open its doors to students at the start of the Autumn term.

The additional teaching block at Blacon High School, that we also designed, has scored an A+ energy efficiency rating with a building emission rate of 0.08 kgCO2/m2 per year.

The two-storey building, funded by Cheshire West and Chester Council and Blacon High School, will allow the school to increase its capacity by 150 students to 750.

It includes provision to support students with special education needs, a dining area and two dedicated rooms to support the creative curriculum on the ground floor. There are also six new classrooms located on the first floor and additional bicycle storage has been installed on site to encourage more pupils to cycle to and from school.

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The building, which is one of the first projects to be supported by the Council’s Climate Emergency capital funding, is powered from on-site and off-site renewable energy sources, including solar photovoltaic (PV) panels on the roof, with the remaining carbon balance offset to achieve net zero carbon status.

Building materials have been selected to ensure the extension is well insulated to help reduce heat loss and, in turn, the amount of energy needed to run the building.

Managing Director Steven Owen said: “We are delighted to have achieved such a highly sustainable building that will benefit the students and the environment for years to come.

“Securing an A+ energy rating is always an achievement but is especially rewarding as it has been a challenging time for construction with the covid pandemic and material shortages. Reaching this very high standard of construction is a credit to our team and sub-contractors.”

Headteacher Rachel Hudson said: “We are absolutely delighted to see the completion of this project, which will enable us to meet the demand and need for places within our local community. This is testament to the belief and confidence in Blacon High School by all those involved.

“This outstanding facility will help us to support students to achieve the best outcomes in a high quality learning environment.”

Councillor Matt Bryan, Cabinet Member for Housing, Planning & Climate Emergency, said: “It’s fantastic to see one of our new buildings achieving a net zero carbon status, something that will not only benefit the school, with lower running costs, but also the borough as we aim to reduce our emissions and become carbon neutral by 2045.”