Solar Campus

This school, completed in 1962 to designs by Emslie A. Morgan, Assistant Borough Architect of Wallasey Corporation, was the first building in the UK to make use of solar energy as a heat source, using an innovative double-skinned glazed façade on its south facing wall. A manually operated system allows the occupants to adjust the temperature and ventilation according to the weather conditions and demand. The outer skin of glazing is clear and the inner layer is mostly made of translucent glass to diffuse the light. Amidst the inner layer are also aluminium panels which are painted black on one side and can be turned around to absorb heat from the low winter sun. There are variously openable windows and shutters that too can be operated to control the internal environment. The structural frame was made from in-situ concrete and this behaves as a thermal mass and stores the solar radiation. Its design was well in advance of its time and was regularly studied and cited by environmentally focussed architects right into the 1980s. It was Grade II listed in 1996.