School vent cool - Ventilation, cooling and strategies for high performance school renovations

Based on a building typology, strategies for prefabrication for high-quality thermic-energetic renovation of school buildings were developed. New solutions for ventilation systems to achieve good air quality and shading systems were analysed and tested. The "School vent cool" method for renovation of schools has been developed.

Short Description




Starting point/Motivation

All over Europe energy and education related developments require adaptations of our school buildings. Most of them have been built during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, they are now expected to be modernised and renovated.

Contents and Objectives

The project aimed to raise both, energy efficiency by high performance retrofit strategies and thermal comfort plus high indoor air quality by proved simple solutions for ventilation and protection from heat and glare of school buildings in the European partner countries. The project laid the foundation for sustainable educational buildings with best indoor conditions.


The project developed high performance renovation strategies in workshops and by the interaction of the project partners based on a qualitative school building typology. Pre-fabrication or modular design components have been important parts of these concepts. Reasons for overheating and glare in classrooms were identified by investigations, measurements and interviews in selected classrooms and served as basis for shading solutions and natural cooling requirements to protect from overheating and glare. New and simple ventilation solutions have been developed, investigated, and like cooling requirements integrated into the retrofit concepts, tested in field trials and demonstration projects.


The project School vent cool developed a qualitative school building typology as a basis for replicable prefabricated timber façade elements integrating ventilation and shading systems by the Swiss project partners. The "School vent cool" methodology of renovation strategies for the whole school portfolio of school owners like cities was described in the brochure "Your way towards your cool school" and published in 2012. Innovative ventilation and shading systems have been documented and tested in demonstration buildings. The reasons for overheating in classrooms and the sensation of the users was investigated and in these demonstration classrooms. For planners of ventilation systems for school renovations a design criteria list has been developed by DTU (Technical University of Denmark). For dissemination reasons, one video made from pupils, 10 articles including one radio programme and videos, more than 10 international presentations and workshops were done by the project team. The website was set-up and prepared for the target groups.

Prospects / Suggestions for future research

Beside constructive requirements of school renovations to reach "nearly zero energy building"-standard for schools and other public buildings, growing interest is coming up on the "Indoor Environment Quality" (IEQ) and on summer comfort. More research projects and activities on these topics, first of all on affordable and advanced solutions, would be necessary. Additionally further projects on the climate adaption strategies of buildings by renovations would serve interesting research topics.

All over Europe companies or company clusters which could offer advanced school renovation solutions in the sense of School vent cool are still missing. A main target for the future should be the establishment of an information exchange and know-how transfer network where school owners, researchers and companies share knowledge about promising technologies, bringing together the supply and demand side. School vent cool made a small contribution to these aims.

Project Partners

Contact Address

DI Armin Knotzer
AEE - Institut für Nachhaltige Technologien
A-8200 Gleisdorf, Feldgasse 19
Tel.: +43 (3112) 5886-69
Fax: +43 (3112) 5886-18