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Zehnder UK unveils integrated heating and lighting panel for schools

Zehnder Group UK is proudly unveiling its integrated Multi-service ‘Foil’ product, which encapsulates heating and cooling, lighting, acoustics and other functions all in one panel. The Foil has been jointly engineered with lighting specialists Whitecroft Lighting, and is ideal for schools and other educational facilities.

Bringing together Zehnder’s expert knowledge in radiant heating and cooling and Whitecroft’s heritage in specialist lighting, the Foil combines all the best features of energy efficient heating and cooling, lighting and acoustics. Other services such as speakers, fire alarms, sprinklers and smoke detectors can also be easily incorporated into the design. 

Case study: Mercia School, Sheffield

Zehnder UK unveils integrated heating and lighting panel for schools

In 2017, Sheffield Council and the Mercia Learning Trust embarked on an ambitious, £25million new school development in the Bannerdale area of south-west Sheffield. 

Upon announcing the project, Mercia Learning Trust commented: “The offer of Mercia School will be very different. We intend it to be a traditional school with its culture rooted in exceptionally high behavioural standards and an academic curriculum which celebrates mastery of knowledge.”

Educational excellence was the common theme that ran throughout the project brief, ensuring that the school would provide an optimal space for learning, development and achievement.

All contractors and building products were chosen with this aim in mind, meaning that every aspect of the build would adhere to these high standards and contribute to the enhanced learning environment. Zehnder’s multi-service foil, developed with lighting specialists Whitecroft Lighting, provided the ideal solution for the school’s science classrooms, combining heating, lighting and acoustic services within one easy-to-install solution.

The build was approved in April 2017 and completed in September 2018.

The project brief

  • £25million invested by Mercia Learning Trust and Sheffield City Council
  • Brand new secondary school and sixth form building for 11-18 year olds
  • Modern building facilities to deliver a traditional academic environment
  • Ergonomic furniture and room design throughoutZehnder UK unveils integrated heating and lighting panel for schools

Specific requirements and challenges

  • Aesthetically aligned to the building 
  • Save space and not disrupt the learning environment
  • Cost-efficiency
  • Easy to install 
  • Easy to maintain

The architect, Bond Bryan’s, vision for Mercia School was to have clean, uncluttered spaces conducive to a positive and academically rigorous teaching and learning environment. 

The contractor, BAM Construction, was tasked with selecting solutions which adhered to this vision and would supply the necessary functions needed in the building whilst not detracting from the idea of a clean, productive learning space.

Over 200 foil radiant luminaires were installed in the science classrooms. The ergonomic furniture design in the classroom resulted in a lack of space for heating services against the wall. Thus, integrating both the heating and acoustic services into a single lighting feature ensured an uncluttered space matching the teaching and learning environment that had been envisaged by both the architect and the Mercia Learning Trust, to support the vision and values of the school.

Product specifications:

  • Maximum working temperature: 80°CZehnder UK unveils integrated heating and lighting panel for schools
  • Maximum test pressure: 7.8 bar
  • Maximum working pressure: 6 bar
  • Tested to EN14037, EN12464 and ISO 354 standards

Product benefits:

  • Space saving: combining heating, lighting and acoustics in one unit
  • Radiant panels: savings in excess of 20% vs. traditional heating systems
  • Silent operation: enhancing the quality of the learning environment for students and staff
  • Ease of install: a single install reduces risk of delay to the building programme  
  • Simplicity: accessible for easy cleaning and maintenance
  • Energy efficiency: reduces the school’s carbon footprint


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