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Construction of Great Notley Primary School in Essex was completed in 1999. The building has since won awards for an innovative approach to low energy design.

The £1.2 million development relies heavily on the use of passive energy systems throughout. The environmental impacts of the school are further reduced by the extensive use of recycled materials and sustainable materials such as timber cladding and a green roof.


The building form has been designed to allow all spaces to be day lit and naturally ventilated. The roof design incorporates clerestorey windows which enhance both air movement and light in the classrooms and assembly areas.

The façade design includes solar shading devices such as brise soleil and large overhangs to minimise overheating, thereby avoiding the need for cooling.

The external envelope has been designed to include a high level of insulation within a breathing wall construction. This results in low heat losses and a reduced energy requirement for heating the school.

The sedum roof also provides a high level of insulation in the roof and in addition provides thermal mass to modulate any heat gains from internal activities, or associated with the daylighting strategy.


Project team

Essex County Council

Alford Hall Monaghan Morris

Atelier Ten

Further information