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Willmott Dixon appointed for latest net zero carbon in operation school

Willmott Dixon has added to its growing portfolio of net zero carbon in operation school projects by being chosen to build a £21m ultra-sustainable learning environment for 750 pupils at Tarleton Academy in Preston.

Procured using the Department for Education (DfE) construction framework, the new Tarleton Academy will be built on land adjacent to the existing school, which will remain in use until the new building is open in September 2023. Its facilities will include 36 classrooms as well as a range of sports facilities such as a 20m swimming pool for use by the school and local community, plus new fitness suite and multi-use games area. 

The academy will be net-zero carbon in operation and this will be achieved using an enhanced building envelope to maximise air tightness, alongside triple glazed windows.  It will also benefit from renewable energy generation comprising both ground source and air source heat pumps.  Furthermore, the roof will feature an array of 1,500 sq m photovoltaic (PV) solar panels, harnessing renewable energy and offsetting all energy used on site.

Tarleton Academy will further benefit from Willmott Dixon’s EnergySynergyTM process. This see a team of zero carbon specialists compare actual energy performance for a period of 2-3 years after handover with energy performance targeted at the design stage, ensuring there is no difference in operational use against that predicted when designed. 

Anthony Dillon, managing director for Willmott Dixon in the North, said: “We are delighted to be working with the Department for Education at Tarleton Academy to deliver a world class learning environment, which will be net zero carbon in operation and benefit from our extensive EnergySynergyTM performance monitoring process to reduce costs. 

“Sustainability is at the forefront of our business and through our 2030 ‘Now or Never’ sustainability strategy, we have pledged that by the end of 2030 all our new buildings and major refurbishments will achieve net zero operational carbon.  Through our work at Tarleton Academy, we are proud to be accelerating our commitment.” 

The delivery of Tarleton Academy is the latest ultra-sustainable education project by Willmott Dixon.  It follows the award winning £38m Harris Academy Sutton, the UK’s largest Passivhaus accredited secondary school. The company has also delivered Hackbridge Primary School, the UK’s first Passivhaus ‘Plus’ education facility, which consumes only 75% of the 100% renewable energy it generates, selling the remainder back to the grid.

Last month, the company was also appointed for a £29m net-zero carbon school build at Silverwood School’s Rowde campus in North Wiltshire, extending the existing campus to provide a high-quality environment for 350 SEND pupils by September 2023.