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Building Products July 2017

EDUCATION BUILDINGS legislation to consider is the Equality Act 2010. The document states that any colour scheme needs to clearly distinguish between walls, floors, doorframes and ceilings to support accessibility. As well as colour, something else to consider when choosing paint for any educational facility, but particularly if it is designated for primary students, is its ability to stand up to a regular and rigorous cleaning regime. New formulations that actively repel stains are available and offer an increased level of durability. This innovative alternative will ensure fewer retouches are required throughout the life of the building and therefore make economic sense in the longer term. Once students have progressed to secondary school, they want to feel they are being treated as young adults, so the design of these buildings must reflect a more mature colour palette. However, brighter accent colours for feature walls and doors can still be used to inspire a sense of fun whilst learning. Most classrooms and learning spaces use this technique. Selecting a suitably bright colour to bring focus to the teaching wall students will face for the majority of their day can actively encourage learning and enhance concentration. For optimum effectiveness, the vividness should be balanced by more neutral shades in the rest of the room. Access to natural light is also incredibly important within a learning environment and there are opportunities to increase the presence of 14 BUILDING PRODUCTS | JULY 2017 it through the paint selection. Products that use Lumitec technology reflect natural light back into the room instead of absorbing it. This not only makes a room or space lighter and brighter but also has the effect of enlarging spaces. In fact, intuitive paint specification can save an average of 22% of lighting energy thanks to the use of lower wattage lighting. Any school, college or university will have its own environmental targets and therefore aspects of the design, including paint specification, will need to aid and support this. Paints with Lower Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) content have lower embodied carbon levels, which is key to minimising the impact of any paint choice on the environment. For external guidance those designing the project can use paints that are BREEAM or SKA Rating compliant as these schemes assess the environmental impact of finishes. When creating a learning environment for students in higher education, the design can go as far as to reflect the specialised subject of the facility. For example, using only neutral tones can create a canvas approach for an art and design school allowing student work to become incorporated within the finished design of the space. Serious blues used for feature walls denote a business environment and can always be enhanced by a vivid yellow. As well as educational spaces for students currently at college or university, another key design focus is that of the designated accommodation. The first thing to remember is that this is home for students for the entirety of the academic year, and it should feel that way. Colours can be used to define different areas within each room, as well as making the communal areas as welcoming as possible to inspire fun and sociability. Older students are also ultimately more design conscious and the accommodation facilities must be a place where they feel they can make it their own. However, due to the cyclical nature of student accommodation, durability, the ease of keeping it clean and the ability to withstand constant wear and tear are also crucial considerations when finalising any design. Creating spaces that have a positive impact on the well being of the occupants is becoming increasingly popular, especially within the education sector. It is important when designing any academic space, whether it is a school, college or university, to remember the power of colour and the affect it can have on student behaviour. Designing a comfortable space that both supports and enriches student learning is vital to the success of any educational project. These helpful tips will enable architects and specifiers to transform educational facilities into stimulating and sustainable spaces. Peter Howard is National Sector Lead – Education, Healthcare & Property Management from AkzoNobel <<< Continued from page 13


Building Products July 2017
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