In a pilot study by the University of Salford and architects, Nightingale Associates, it was found that the classroom environment can affect a child’s academic progress by as much as 25 per cent over a year.

Saint-Gobain Africa offers a set of solutions to optimise comfort for teachers and learners in schools, training colleges and universities in Africa.

Even when young Sub-Saharan Africans have access to schooling, they do not always have the best learning conditions.

The rooms are often overcrowded, welcoming from 40 to 50 students in the same class. These premises feature hard and smooth surfaces, such as brick walls, concrete floors and chalkboards. This combination of materials encourages the propagation of noise instead of optimising the sound environment.

In combination with this, there is a proliferation of private schools to overcome the shortcomings of public systems and meet a growing demand.

At Saint-Gobain Africa, we believe that the combined efforts of designers, architects, contractors and government departments or private entities tasked with building education facilities can contribute towards the transformation of education outcomes.

Acoustic Comfort


The quality of education a child receives will have a direct influence on his or her future path in life.

Acoustic comfort facilitates improved learning through noise reduction and improved acoustics. A considered approach to building acoustics is essential to improve the clarity of speech, speech audibility, concentration, short-term memory and the reduction of mental stress.

To provide the appropriate acoustic conditions in an educational environment, it is necessary to understand the relationship between the teacher/students, the activity they are doing (teaching/learning style in a classroom) and the space they are in.

Saint-Gobain Africa provides solutions for high acoustic performance. These include: 

  • Materials that provide sound insulation from external noise, such as glass in windows and facades.
  • Insulating materials that can effectively attenuate noise, such as specially designed plasterboards and drywall systems, acoustic ceilings and glasswool insulation, that help to reduce airborne and impact noises inside the building.
  • Absorbing materials reduce reverberation within a space and enhance the acoustic ambience. This can be achieved through Saint-Gobain acoustic ceilings, wall panels or a combination of the two.
  • ETICS systems that improve thermal insulation and acoustic values as an alternative to conventional building systems.
Thermal comfort


An efficient building envelope can enhance thermal comfort.

To preserve the health of learners and teachers, the solutions used in the construction of schools must provide good moisture management. This is especially true for wetrooms (ablutions) that see constant use. This also ensures that the building does not deteriorate prematurely.

Saint-Gobain Africa provides a wide range of solutions to improve thermal comfort in education premises. These include:

  • Drywall systems that provide enhanced thermal performance to the building envelope, which supports the thermal comfort of the occupants. The thermal conductivity of plasterboard is up to four times less than that of brickwork.
  • Solar control glass and window films that can either let sun radiation enter the building or block it out.
  • Interior and exterior insulation materials, such as mineral wools, that help to reduce heat losses or gains.
  • ETICS systems that provide active insulation by minimising heat flow through walls and around windows, doors and other openings while cutting energy consumption and CO² emissions from heating and cooling.
  • Vapour control membranes that prevent humidity from entering the building.
  • Renders that help reduce humidity transfer from the outside and improve thermal comfort.
  • Bituminous waterproofing roof solutions with heat reflective properties.
  • Tile adhesives, primers, grouts and cementitious finishes that prevent heat flow.
  • Warm edge spacer bars that improve the thermal performance of glazing units.
Indoor air


Children are sensitive and vulnerable to their environment. Particular attention must be paid to the quality of indoor air they breathe.

Improved air quality reduces the chances of becoming ill or suffering asthma attacks, making more time available for learning and teaching. 

Saint-Gobain Africa solutions include: 

  • Lightweight systems for walls, ceilings, and floors, specifically tailored to prevent moisture retention in moisture prone commercial and office spaces such as bathrooms and kitchens.
  • Plasterboards and wall coverings that help purify indoor air by scavenging certain VOCs, such as formaldehyde, out of the air.
  • High-density acoustic glasswool ceiling solutions with an easy-to-clean natural glass finish facing, which are ideal for education facilities such as laboratories, shower rooms, canteen kitchens and general areas where acoustic and thermal properties, as well as ease of maintenance, are of utmost importance.
  • Glass, an inert material.
  • Warm edge spacer bars to stop condensation and prevent the formation of mould and bacteria in between glazing units.
  • Duct insulation to prevent condensation and mould.
  • Tile grouting adhesives and flooring solutions with low CO₂ emissions.
  • Chemical-resistant epoxy adhesive and grout for interior and exterior use where chemical resistance and impermeability is required (laboratories and ablution areas).
  • Mortar for joints resistant to mould, bacteria, algae and chemical attack.
  • Sound-absorbing ceiling systems intended for environments where there is a risk of slight contamination and where regular cleaning is required, such as kitchens, public catering areas and laboratories. 
  • Moisture-resistant boards used in areas where humidity is high (such as communal showers) to prevent moisture retention that leads to mould development. 
  • Renders and plaster to decrease condensation and therefore decrease mould development.


Our biological need for natural light can lead to a lack of productivity and motivation to learn and process information. Design that maximises daylight harvesting techniques needs to be considered in education buildings.

Saint-Gobain Africa offers a wide range of solutions to improve visual comfort in education facilities. These include: 

  • Lightweight drywalling systems with design flexibility to meet modern design trends in education buildings.
  • Decorative and functional acoustic panels, to create visually striking installations in educational spaces.
  • Glass or window films allow designers to equip education buildings with superior lighting benefits and aesthetics while minimising heat ingress and heat loss.
  • Decorative interior products, such as wall coverings, ceilings or flooring, can contribute to the distribution of daylight and the aesthetic of a space.
  • Surface-mounted services and pipework can be accommodated within or behind Saint-Gobain's lightweight wall and floor systems to maintain clean, aesthetic building lines.