Monday, 17 December 2012

Levolux sheds light on new technology

When Diamond Light Source opened in 2007, it impressed the scientific community, with its potential for advancing scientific research, and the architectural community, with its revolutionary Solar Shading solution, developed by Levolux.

Diamond Light Source is the UK’s national synchrotron facility, located at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in South Oxfordshire. The facility is used to produce very intense beams of x-rays, infrared and ultraviolet light, which enable scientists to study very small objects like molecules and atoms.

The impressive ‘doughnut’ shaped building, which was designed by Jacobs Architecture, represents the largest UK scientific investment for more than 45 years, occupying an area of around 45,000m2.
To ensure the building operates efficiently and to maintain optimum conditions for scientists to conduct their studies, Levolux was approached to develop a bespoke external Solar Shading solution.

The solution comprised rows of fabricated aluminium Louvres, fixed to curved supports with an innovative, integrated walk-on platform. The structure provides shade for the 2-storey building while creating a curved outer envelope which gives the building its distinctive ‘doughnut’ shape.
Fabricated aluminium Louvres vary in number, size and pitch around the circumference of the building, providing 235 metres of coverage. Depending on the size and orientation of glazed openings, Levolux applied its 600mm, 450mm or 75mm wide Louvres to ensure solar heat gain is minimised, while allowing natural daylight to penetrate deep into the building. 

As an alternative to single-piece extruded aluminium Louvres, Fabricated Fins allow for a perforated finish to be added, which softens the external aesthetic, maximises daylight levels and reduces the overall weight of the structure. 
Above the ground floor is a series of integral walkways, set behind the larger Louvres. Comprising ‘J’ tread elements the walkways not only contribute to shading performance, but also enable safe and convenient access to the exterior of the building for regular cleaning and maintenance.

Crispin Wride, Design Director at Jacobs Architecture was impressed with the results, commenting: “We worked closely with Levolux to develop a simple pragmatic system that provides solar protection for the naturally ventilated perimeter offices and laboratories, and access for cleaning and maintenance, whilst creating the dramatic external form.” 

Since it opened in 2007, scientists based at the Diamond Light Source have used the facility to help progress environmental, physical and life sciences. Equipped with a comprehensive Solar Shading solution, courtesy of Levolux, the facility boasts optimised environmental conditions that will support more progress in the years ahead. 

For more information, please visit

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Levolux earns its Spurs

The new Tottenham Hotspur Training Centre, which was completed this summer, is one of the most advanced and energy efficient facilities of its kind, with a state-of-the-art indoor training centre, equipped with a Solar Shading solution from Levolux.

Occupying a 67 acre site in Enfield, north London, the new development for Tottenham Hotspur Football Club provides world-leading facilities including two fully equipped gymnasiums, an indoor swimming pool and ancillary areas.

At the centre of the development is a 70 x 50 metre indoor artificial pitch enclosed within an arcing ETFE roof, similar to that used on the Eden Project biomes. The indoor pitch is linked to a two-storey ‘L’ shaped building, accommodating a First Team wing to the west and an Academy wing to the south.

The development, designed by KSS, is optimised to maximise natural daylight, while limiting solar heat gain. As the UK’s leading specialist, Levolux was invited to develop a custom external Solar Shading solution, comprising Aerofoil Fins, Ventilation and Screening Louvres, all formed from extruded aluminium.
Levolux’s Aerofoil Fins are designed to create an effective form of Brise Soleil, significantly reducing solar heat gain, while allowing daylight to filter through into the building and offering good outward visibility. Their sleek aerofoil-shaped profile ensures good airflow, even in high winds, preventing unwanted noise or vibrations from developing. 

Panelised Aerofoil Fins provide fixed shading to east-facing openings below the arcing ETFE roof of the 70 metre indoor pitch. In total 20 panels, each comprising 11 Fins secured between aluminium side-plates and spanning 3.5 metres, were supplied and fitted. The Fins, each measuring 400mm deep by 50mm thick, create a 4 metre deep shading canopy, projecting above ground floor windows.

Panelised Aerofoil Fins were also utilised on the First Team wing along its west-facing elevation. To prevent excessive solar heat gain in the gymnasium, which has a double-height glazed fa├žade, Levolux installed 6 vertical stacks of horizontal Aerofoil Fins. Each stack comprises 9 Fins, secured between aluminium side-plates, with a span of 5.4 metres. Each Fin, measuring 400mm deep by 77mm thick, is angled at 30 degrees to provide optimum shading.

Where applied as a vertical stack, Fins are secured to the structure using Levolux’s revolutionary Triniti® bracket, which is the only curtain walling bracket that is proven to virtually eliminate cold bridging, preventing interstitial condensation and minimising transmission of noise into the building.  

To complete the solution, Levolux provided its ‘S’ profile Ventilation Louvres to screen plantrooms on both the First Team and Academy wings, applied to west and south-facing elevations, respectively. The Louvres were chosen for their excellent airflow, attractive appearance and impressive weatherability.
Louvred facades extend up to 12.5 metres in length, while their height is contoured to follow the roof line, ranging from just 400mm up to 4 metres. Formed from extruded aluminium components and backed by bird mesh, the Louvres are pitched at 75mm and incorporate double and single Louvred doors.

Levolux’s XL Screening Louvres, with their ‘Z’ profile, were installed above the First Team kitchen at roof level, to conceal unsightly plant and equipment. The vertical screen extends to almost 50 metres in length, with a maximum height of 1.5 metres. An integral access hatch is included, measuring 1000mm high by 1000mm wide, to facilitate access for servicing and maintenance.

All aluminium components have been treated with a durable grey or white polyester powder coating, for long lasting good looks.

Completed ahead of the 2012/2013 season, Tottenham Hotspur FC’s new Training Centre becomes the new home for the Club’s First Team and its Youth Academy. By embracing future-proof, energy efficient technology, such as the passive Solar Shading solution from Levolux, the Club is now better equipped to deliver success, both on and off the field.

For more information, visit

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Levolux swots up at Deptford Green

Deptford Green School, which is one of the last in the country to receive funding under the BSF programme, showcases the latest in sustainable building design, including a Levolux Solar Shading solution.

The £32 million development, designed by Watkins Gray Architects, re-unites upper and lower schools, which previously occupied separate sites, transforming education provision for 1300 pupils. The new building, which is arranged over 2 to 5 floors, boasts spacious classrooms, state-of-the-art music, sound recording and IT facilities and naturally lit circulation areas.

Designed to achieve a BREEAM ‘excellent’ rating, the building is optimised to maximise passive energy-efficiency. This included adapting the external envelope, particularly on the south-facing elevation which required a form of Brise Soleil.

As the UK’s leading Solar Shading specialist, Levolux was invited to develop an external Solar Shading solution comprising Western Red Cedar Timber Fins, incorporated into horizontal projections and vertical stacks.

In total, 84 aerofoil-shaped Timber Fins, each measuring 220mm wide by 40mm thick, have been incorporated into horizontal projections above ground, first and second floor windows. Projecting 900mm from the building’s facade and extending 16 metres in length, each horizontal array comprises Timber Fins fixed at an angle of 60 degrees from vertical, between profile-cut aluminium side plates. The Timber Fins are designed to provide shade, while allowing an unobstructed outward view. 
In contrast, 288 aerofoil-shaped Timber Fins, also measuring 220mm wide by 40mm thick, have been incorporated into an array of vertical stacks, extending 55 metres in length and with a height of 15 metres. The Fins are fixed at an angle of 90 degrees from vertical, with a graduated pitch across each floor.

At high level along each floor the pitch of the Fins is just 300mm, concentrating them where they provide the most effective shade. At eye level on each floor the pitch of the Fins is opened up to 900mm to maximise daylight levels and allow good outward views across the revamped Fordham Park.

As an effective form of solar control, the Timber Fins counter the risk of excessive solar heat gain in entrance/circulation areas, classrooms and in the dining area, by reflecting and absorbing solar energy before it is transmitted through glass.

The pitch and angle of the Fins ensures they work most effectively in the summer when the sun is at its peak intensity and is higher in the sky. In the winter the sun is less powerful and is lower in the sky, so its rays can pass through the Fins and solar energy can be transmitted through the glass helping to heat the building.
As usual, all timber sourced for this project by Levolux was FSC-certified with a full chain of custody. Western Red Cedar is a lightweight, durable timber and when left untreated, as in this case, it gradually acquires an attractive, silver-grey patina.

To complement the installation, the supporting structure, including support arms and brackets were finished in a graphite grey powder coating.

Opening in September 2012, Deptford Green School provides an exceptional environment for local students to thrive in very challenging times. By adopting highly sustainable and energy efficient features, such as the external Timber Fins by Levolux, the school has created the optimum conditions for students to fulfil their best potential.

For more information, visit

Friday, 9 November 2012

Levolux makes tracks in Calgary

Following almost 30 years of planning, on 10th December 2012 Calgary will open its new Light Rail Transit (LRT) route serving its southwest communities with 6 new stations, featuring state-of-the-art, energy efficient components including a Levolux Solar Shading solution.

The West LRT route extends 8.2 kilometres to the west of Calgary, doubling its LRT network and represents a big step towards making it a more sustainable city. The new route has six new stations including Sunalta, Shaganappi Point, Westbrook, 45th Street, Sirocco and 69th Street.

GEC Architecture undertook the conceptual design of each station, giving each its own unique identity, but with a common design format. Accounting for climatic changes, each station is equipped with features to optimise the passenger experience. This included the external treatment of south-facing facades with a Levolux Solar Shading solution, to counter the risk of solar heat gain throughout the summer. 
Flynn Canada, a leading building envelope contractor, was tasked with selecting products and with detailing the curtain walling and glazing arrangements. They preferred Levolux’s proposed solution as it offered the most compatible arrangement of Louvres to meet specific structural requirements dictated by the curtain walling mullions.

The application of external solar shading on new buildings with large, glazed openings is usually required to comply with building codes or regulations and is often exploited by architects and designers to enhance a building’s external aesthetic. 

As the leading provider of Solar Shading solutions, Levolux was invited to develop bespoke solutions for six buildings, comprising its Infiniti® Fin System and Aerofoil Fins, formed from extruded aluminium components.

In total, Levolux supplied 227 aerofoil-shaped Fins, applied against vertical, inclined and curved elevations. The Fins, measuring 300mm or 400mm in width, provide effective passive solar control to glazed openings in ticket halls and platform enclosures.

By adopting Levolux’s renowned Aerofoil Fins and Infiniti Fin system, the optimum form, composition and fixing method for external projections could be achieved. This helps to maintain comfortable temperatures naturally, without the need for mechanical cooling and air conditioning.
Close-up of Triniti Bracket cut-away to show thermal break
In order to satisfy the client’s challenging brief, Levolux engineered custom brackets and support arms to integrate with the curtain walling and cladding arrangements. The risk of cold bridging, interstitial condensation and noise transmission has been significantly reduced thanks to Levolux’s unique Triniti® Bracket. It is proven to outperform standard curtain walling brackets by as much as 70%, in terms of reducing structural heat loss.

As a pioneer in its field, Levolux offers an unrivalled range of products that can be tailored to meet almost any project requirement, taking into account solar path analysis, shading coefficients, structural tolerances and cooling loads.

The City of Calgary Council invested in the region of $1.4 billion to develop its West LRT route, which is designed to fulfil the region’s transit requirements for the next 20 years. 
By using energy efficient, sustainable building components, such as the Solar Shading solution provided by Levolux, the new transport infrastructure promises to provide a cost effective and comfortable service for Calgary’s commuters.

For more information, visit