The project comprises a new Learning Resource Centre, Main College Reception, Library, IT Resource Centre, Tutorial rooms and Lecture Theatre.
When taking the brief from the client, it became clear that due to the extensive use and quantities of PC’s used (over 140 on the top floor), overheating would be a significant problem.
Rather than take the traditional approach which would be to add mechanical cooling and air conditioning, we considered the problem and researched alternatives. We ended up designing out the need for expensive and energy hungry cooling systems by working with the architect to design a building that used passive stack natural ventilation and night cooling.
The building is built to be sustainable and utilises the exposed concrete structure as a temperature modifier, with passive stack ventilation and night cooling to avoid overheating.
Automatically controlled louvres are opened at night to allow cooler night air to circulate though the building and reduce the temperature of the exposed concrete coffered slab. The cool slab acts as a temperature modifier to help keep the building cool during the daytime. Computer Dynamic Thermal Analysis modelling of the building confirmed the design principles prior to construction.
We were able to discuss the pros and cons of the system with the client and the governing body, and the decision to proceed using this relatively new technology was made based upon the facts. We are pleased to say that feedback from the college during the extreme hot spell in the Summer indicates that the system and building physics are working well to provide comfort temperatures.