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The Avenue Centre, Reading

Following a competitive selection process, Pope Consulting Ltd was appointed as part of a design team by Reading Borough Council to complete feasibility studies and outline design for this £19m project. The project was briefed as a 60 pupil special educational needs school with office accommodation for Council staff and a Council training centre.

Thermal dynamic modelling was undertaken using IES Virtual Environment software to confirm thermal loads and natural ventilation and daylighting strategies.

The building employs 2 90kW ground source heat pumps for primary energy, using deep boreholes for the ground loops. Natural ventilation, employing crossflow and stack techniques, has been employed wherever possible to meet sustainability criteria.

Solar thermal collectors are mounted on the roof and contribute to the domestic hot water service. To offset the energy used in running summertime cooling pumps, 5 x 1kW wind generators have been installed on the 2nd floor rooftop. A mini-CHP (Combined Heat and Power) provides a continuous 5.5kWe and 12.5kWth to the building and pool. This building has a fully pumped sprinkler installation served from tank storage.

It was officially opened in Jan 2010 by the Countess of Wessex.