Glenpark Early Learning Centre, Glasgow

Inverclyde Council’s response to:

‘A Blueprint for 2020: The Expansion of Early Learning and Childcare in Scotland’

Background

Children attending the £3.4m Glenpark Early Learning Centre (ELC) in Greenock will benefit from plenty of natural light and ventilation thanks to VELUX Modular Skylights with built-in blinds.

Glenpark provides 100 places for 3-4 year olds and eligible two year olds around the Greenock area, west of Glasgow.

A commitment by the Scottish Government to increase free early learning and childcare hours available in Scotland from 600 to 1,140 per year by 2020 proved to be the catalyst for creating this inspiring development.

Glenpark is being developed by Glasgow-based main contractor CCG and is on the site of the former Greenock Academy. It is part of Inverclyde Council’s £270 million schools estate programme.


Challenge

Natural light has been shown to have a positive effect on the psychological wellbeing of children in terms of mood, security and behaviour. In fact, Professor Peter Barrett in his ‘Clever Classrooms’ study found that daylight and ventilation can increase children’s learning capacity by up to 8%. Having good natural light and ventilation in a learning environment is also recognised as being beneficial to children with autism spectrum disorder. 


The spirit of a place depends more on the presence of natural light than perhaps any other factor

The Scottish Government's; Space to grow report

Hardly surprising then that The Scottish Government (2017), Health and Social Care Standards states that natural light and fresh air should be available in all main rooms used by children. And of course, they are beneficial to the wellbeing of staff, too.

The Scottish Government’s; ‘Space to Grow’ report, states specifically that:

  • Natural light should be within the playrooms used by children.
  • Natural light should be in as many areas as possible throughout the premises.
  • All opportunities for maximising natural light should be taken.

It was felt that the most effective method of accessing these benefits at Glenpark was through the use of rooflights.

The designers had to factor in that many children currently sleep or rest for a period during their time within a setting. With the expansion to 1,140 hours per year, it is likely that more children may attend for a longer day. That means more will sleep during the day. A consequence of this was the need to provide skylight shading in what would be a naturally lit interior.

Holmes Miller Architects therefore had to ensure that both children and staff could access the benefits of natural light and ventilation, whilst identifying an easy mechanism to control glare and provide shade.


VELUX Modular Skylights, Glenpark Early Learning Centre

The team at VELUX have been reliable and provided proactive site support when needed, as well as answered questions timely, all of which made installation as smooth as possible.

Stuart Andrews, Site Manager at CCG
VELUX Modular Skylights, Glenpark Early Learning Centre
VELUX Modular Skylights, Glenpark Early Learning Centre

Solution

Following careful evaluation, Holmes Miller Architects specified VELUX Modular Skylights because of two unique features of the system:

  1. In-built blinds - provide efficient, reliable shade that is easy to control using the VELUX INTEGRA® system
  2. Tight in plane solution of the VELUX Northlight – fitting closer to the roof means less outward protrusion, creating a slimmer aesthetic

The architects preferred the VELUX system, too, because it is modular, so reduces installation time on site – they can be fitted up to three times faster than a traditional installation, creating a quicker weathertight seal.


The in-built blinds of the VELUX Modular Skylights and tight in plane profile provided us with a unique, design-led solution for Glenpark. We have not seen factory-fitted integral blinds on any other skylight system.

Mark Ellson, Director, Homes Miller Architects

Once the skylight system had been selected, the architects specified:

  • 29 VELUX Modular Skylight units split over seven northlight banks within a 35° slate roof. 
  • Integrated blinds (pre-fitted in the factory).
  • 1400mm long units in a variety of widths.
  • Light solar shading specified for the glass.

VELUX worked with Baker Hicks, the M&E contractors, to identify a solution to control the actuators that open and close the skylight to allow natural ventilation, as well as shade levels through the in-built factory fitted blinds. Venting modules and blinds are controlled by the VELUX INTEGRA® system.

VELUX INTEGRA is a revolutionary remote-controlled, integrated blind system that offers:

  • Smooth direct drive – remote control as well as rain and wind sensors.
  • Whisper quiet motors - opens and closes blinds without disturbing occupants.
  • Tested to 13,500 cycles - precision engineered, long life.
  • Installed in minutes – simply click into place in the pre-mounted brackets.
Skylight International the VELUX installation partner, was awarded the sub-contract to supply and install the Modular Skylights. 

We like the fact that VELUX Modular Skylights are the only system prefabricated offsite, which means a quicker, easier and safer installation. It also helped that the skylights had their own inbuilt motors and builds.

Robert Appleby, Installer, Skylight International

Project partners:

Client: Inverclyde Council

Architect: Holmes Miller

Main Contractor: CCG

M&E Contractor: Baker Hicks

Installer: Skylight International 

1 Irlen, H. (1991). Reading through Colours: Overcoming Dyslexia and Other Reading Disabilities through the Irlen Method. New York: Avery

2 Olds, Rui Anita. (2000). Child Care Design Guide: The Ultimate Day Care Centre Design Source McGraw-Hill. New York.


Want to find out more about VELUX Modular Skylights? Or would you like support for your ongoing project? From product presentations to help with calculating the correct amount of rooflights for your project, we're always happy to lend a hand.

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