Samuel Ryder Academy – St Albans

Net zero classroom block extends facilities at Samuel Ryder Academy.

The Samuel Ryder Academy is a mixed ‘all-through’ school located in St Albans in South Hertfordshire, with primary and secondary departments for children aged 4 to 19.Some of its new school buildings were built by TG Escapes, an ‘award-winning’ creator of modular classrooms and other bespoke buildings. Working with architects, Metropolis Architecture, the company designed bespoke buildings including studios, staff rooms, libraries, gyms, offices, recreation rooms and more. It offers a complete service including planning permissions, site preparation, safety compliance, and design and build, using sustainable materials and energy efficient features.
Founded in 2003, the company was accredited at the 2014 Green Apple Awards for built environment and is also registered members of CHAS and BESA along with other organisations.

The company is based in Coventry and Herefordshire and covers the whole of the UK and Eire as well as some European countries. The company has now built over 700 eco buildings in 12 years. TG Escapes came to Dextra via consultants Design Phase, who wanted an effective lighting design to work for the buildings it was creating for the Samuel Ryder Academy in-line with guidelines and emergency requirements to the BS5266 standard. This was carried out in a tight time scale as most of the TG projects are completed quickly – often within three weeks. Dextra was able to offer design, manufacture and delivery of all luminaires within the short timescales of the project, working with contractor LG Electrical and regular TG architect Metropolis Architecture.


In the classrooms and circulation areas of the building, Dextra’s Graduate LED Recessed, Gull Wing model was chosen to help create a good uniformity of light. For this project, these were fitted with REAF7 6A LL, REAF7 DR15LL sensors and the REA 7 PTHDIR programmer. There were 34 dimmable, 60 standard and 19 emergency versions of the Graduate supplied. The 34 dimmable versions were used on window rows in classroom areas in conjunction with REAF DR15 LL daylight dimming sensors to benefit from natural daylight.

In the toilet and store-room areas, 13 standard, 6 emergency BTEC’s were installed with REAF7 6A LL sensors and the REA 7 PTHDIR programmer. With a spun aluminium housing and injection moulded cable retention, the BTEC Downlight provides a seamless single piece white aluminium reflector and bezel. For the plant room, a Siren LED was fitted to deliver maximum light output with ingress protection. Siren is an LED IP65 rated weatherproof batten luminaire made from high quality injection moulded polycarbonate. For applications where glass reinforced polyester is not needed for chemical resistance the Siren offers a full polycarbonate alternative offering excellent impact resistance.

Elsewhere 16 Protec Fire Rated Downlight luminaires were supplied to help enhance the small toilet cubicles – where it was supplied with REAF7 6A LL sensors. Often used by retailers, the Protec Fire Rated Downlight has been developed to offer a high-quality LED alternative to the traditional GU10 downlighter. Used for the external exits, the AME LED offers ingress protection. Four were used on this project. The AME LED is an IP65 LED Self-Contained Polycarbonate bulkhead. It has a white body, electronic control gear and is manufactured to BS EN 60598 standards. Working alongside this, was the EXI2 LED chosen for its flat appearance mounted to walls for visual escape signage. Nine were supplied for use on all exiting doors.

On the external perimeter of the building, eight Amenity Exterior Eyelid luminaires were chosen as the preferred fitting. The Amenity Exterior LED is a highly robust aluminium exterior luminaire with a durable opal polycarbonate diffuser, sealed to IP65.
Finally, to light an open area to the rear of the building which needed some additional illumination, the Opus 3 was installed. The Opus 3 is manufactured with a high pressure die cast aluminium housing and toughened contrasting dark grey glass surround, allowing it to blend into most applications with a modern and appealing aesthetic. The Opus 3 is a versatile flood light range available in four housing sizes and a range of outputs from 1,100 to 35,000 lumens for use in a wide range of applications, both internal and external and four were used on this project.

The energy performance certificate for the new building is A+ rated at minus 24 making the building carbon neutral, or net zero, in operation. 

Images supplied by TG Escapes