Three local Gisborne Schools have recently undergone a much-needed retrofit of their older kit-set classrooms as part of the Ministry of Education’s Modern Learning Environment programme. This project was initiated when it was identified that these types of buildings had potential structural failings, and an upgrade of the structural integrity would extend the building life a further 20 years. A requirement of this project was for the building envelope to be left uninterrupted, while the thermal and acoustic properties were refreshed. Property services group, School Support Limited, took on this challenge and were very pleased with the finished results.
Solution - Product & Installation
With more than 600 of these traditional prefabricated classrooms in the Hawkes Bay / Poverty Bay region; Gisborne Central School, Tiniroto Primary School and Ohuka Primary School were lucky to receive the first round of upgrades.
Developing the existing classrooms to extend their building life was considered highly cost-effective compared to a new build classroom. As the buildings had no external building paper or insulation, encapsulating or insulating walls internally was not an option, prompting School Support Ltd to seek out an alternative solution.
Aware of the high performing acoustic properties of 50mm Quietspace® Panel, Project Manager Phil Elms was pleased to learn that 50mm Quietspace Panel also achieves an R-value rating of R1.48. Whilst enjoying the adherent acoustic benefits of the Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC) of 1.00, the thermal properties of Quietspace Panel have helped lift the total performance of the building envelope. Custom cut and slotted into aluminium joists; the Quietspace Panels laminated with Atlantis coloured Vertiface provided a great cost-effective solution for building retrofits that require sound control and thermal performance.
Other products also used in the project included Autex’s Composition® acoustic fabric and GreenStuf® polyester insulation. Koala coloured Composition was used to transform walls between classrooms into acoustic notice boards, increasing overall acoustic performance and reducing noise bleed. Made from 100% polyester fibre; Composition won’t stain, rot or break down making it a safe, non-toxic, long-lasting and sustainable acoustic wall treatment ideal for primary schools, day care centres, commercial offices, libraries and the hospitality industry.
To complement the thermal performance of the 50mm Quietspace Panel, the R3.6 rated GreenStuf Roll Form insulation was installed into the ceiling space. Not only was GreenStuf Roll Form easy to install because it was pre-cut to joist widths, it also requires no safety gear because of the non-toxic nature of polyester insulation. This was also a deciding factor in installing GreenStuf as its non-toxic, non-irritant attributes makes it a safe choice for young children who could be exposed to airborne particles. This is why GreenStuf is the only insulation accepted into Asthma New Zealand’s Breath Easy programme as a product considered safer for New Zealanders living with asthma.
Benefits & Feedback
Teachers had nothing but positive feedback on their freshly renovated teaching environments and believe that all schools would benefit from the upgrade. Prior to installation, several teachers commented on how cold the classrooms were – especially in the mornings – and how easily students were distracted by both internal and external sources of noise. Now, classrooms are warm and cosy and there is no longer a need to turn on heat pumps which will be very cost effective in the long term. Noise had been recognised as an issue and students were easily distracted from their work or lessons at hand, resulting in teachers having to raise their voices. Post installation, teachers have noticed that students were much more focused and external noise sources were no longer a distraction. Teachers also loved the finished look of the classrooms, in particular, the colours used and the overall calming effects the retrofitted rooms evoked.
Due to the complete success of the trial upgrade, future projects are in the pipeline with the next stage set to kick off in October 2015.
All students deserve to learn in a warm, calm and nurturing environment and Autex are very much looking forward to working with School Support Ltd on future retrofit classroom projects.