Friday, 25 May 2012

Levolux keeps the heat off Gateshead pupils

A £24million, state of the art secondary school chose Levolux’s innovative sun screening system to keep nearly 1,000 pupils cool, particularly when exams take place in the summer.

The custom-designed shading, featuring large Energy Screens and vertical blade Louvres along with an area of horizontal Fins and Walk-On Brise Soleil, has been installed at Cardinal Hume Catholic School in Gateshead.

Constructed predominantly over two storeys on a Greenfield site, with a five-floor tower on one side, the 10,000m2 landmark school also boasts the latest technology and a multi-use games area. 

With extensive glazing on east, west and south-facing elevations, a team of expert consultants determined the school would require an innovative solution to prevent excessive solar heat gain.

As well as providing an aesthetically striking feature, which under direct sunlight appear to float in front of the glazing, the 94 Levolux Energy Screens will significantly reduce solar heat gain during the day and help insulate the building at night. 

The 5m high vertical screens – made from a combination of perforated and solid aluminium – were fitted to both sides of the south elevation.

Working in partnership with the design team from GWK Architects, Levolux further enhanced the solar shading with 600mm wide vertical blades and 250mm horizontal aluminium aerofoil Fins. Fixed externally, they provide extra protection to the heavily glazed areas.
The Fins, together with an integral walkway system, are manufactured from extruded aluminium sections. The system projects out 600mm with a maintenance walkway, handrail and latchway system for easy access.
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Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Levolux brings home comfort to Dunelm Mill

The £8 million new headquarters development for homewares retailer, Dunelm Mill in Leicester successfully balances sustainability with striking good looks, with help from an external Solar Shading solution from Levolux.

The development provides 50,000 sq feet (5,000 m2) of office accommodation arranged over two floors, with four connected blocks.

Designed by CPMG Architects, the buildings benefit from state-of-the-art technology which helps the development achieve very high levels of energy efficiency. As a leader in its field, Levolux was invited to develop a custom Solar Shading solution to maximise daylight levels, reduce solar heat gain and control glare levels.

Full height glazing allows the sun’s rays to stream into the building, which may be desirable in winter, when solar heat gain is a benefit, but if left un-checked, solar heat gain can become excessive in the summer. This would quickly lead to an uncomfortably hot environment and an increased dependence on energy-sapping air-conditioning.

To prevent this scenario Levolux proposed a solution comprising a total of 46 fully automated, external Venetian Blinds, fitted to two south-facing elevations. Each Venetian Blind is equipped with 80mm wide, roll-formed aluminium slats with a dark grey stove enamelled finish. The Blinds have a drop of up to 3.85 metres and are grouped on each floor to operate together in unison, linked to a stand-alone multi-controller.

Each Levolux multi-controller is programmed to automatically raise and lower the Venetian Blinds and adjust the slat angle, according to readings from external light and wind speed sensors. When the sun reaches its peak intensity on a summer’s day, the slats are closed to prevent excessive solar heat gain, while on an overcast winter’s day the slats are opened to maximise daylight levels.

The Blinds are fitted with a manual override on each floor and if the external wind speed exceeds a threshold, the Blinds are automatically raised up into the head box, preventing damage. As an additional benefit, external Venetian Blinds also help insulate the building by reducing the amount of night cooling during winter months.
Like all Solar Shading systems from Levolux, the motorised Venetian blinds installed at the Dunelm Mill’s HQ, with their attractive dark grey gloss enamelled finish, are backed with the company’s design, manufacture and installation package.

The relocation of the Dunelm Mill headquarters within Leicester provides the additional capacity the company needs to accommodate up to 400 head office staff in comfort, thanks in part to an intelligent Solar Shading solution from Levolux.

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Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Levolux solution protects World’s treasures

An award winning £32 million project to reconfigure and refurbish the new Medieval and Renaissance Galleries at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, has shed new light on more than 1300 years of history, with a little help from Levolux.

Originally designed by Aston Webb in 1891, the new Medieval and Renaissance Galleries are spread across 10 rooms on two floors, at the south-east corner of the museum. Designed by MUMA (McInnes Usher McKnight Architects), this is the biggest project undertaken by the ‘V&A’ for almost 10 years.

One of the key objectives of the project was to control the amount of natural daylight entering the galleries from above through its many skylights and large glazed areas on two levels. As the UK’s leading specialist, Levolux was invited to develop a comprehensive shading solution, incorporating aluminium Aerofoil Fins, Venetian Blinds and Roller Blinds. 

The custom solution effectively filters direct sunlight entering the building, reducing solar heat gain and controlling glare. This has helped the museum to maintain a cool, comfortable environment without the need for air conditioning and limits its dependency on artificial lighting, thereby reducing its energy consumption.

196 fixed extruded aluminium Aerofoil Fins were installed internally at high level in Gallery 50A, one of the museum’s most impressive. Its nave-like space has been partially covered on each side, with 14 banks of Aerofoil Fins, each measuring 350mm wide and spanning 4300mm. 
 The Aerofoil Fins, each with an anodised finish, are designed to reduce the amount of direct sunlight striking the floor of the gallery, effectively bouncing the sun’s rays onto the gallery’s walls at high level, allowing daylight to cascade down into the gallery below. This improves overall daylight and comfort levels in the gallery and helps to protect light sensitive objects being exhibited at low level.

Elsewhere, Levolux installed 64 motorised Venetian Blinds within external recesses in the facade to shade south facing windows at lower and upper levels. Linked to a stand-alone control system, the Venetian blinds feature 50mm wide aluminium slats, finished with a pearl white powder coating. The self reefing blinds can be lowered, tilted/turned and raised according to the level of shade required.

To complete the custom solution, Levolux installed 8 motorised and 19 manually adjustable internal roller blinds. Applied on lower and upper levels throughout 6 galleries, covering south facing windows, the blinds provide effective control of light, heat and glare. A range of coloured fabrics complement the overall scheme.

The new galleries bring together more than 1,800 objects from the twilight years of the Roman Empire to the Renaissance period. These can now be enjoyed in a carefully controlled, naturally lit setting, partly thanks to a custom solar shading solution from Levolux.

For more information, visit

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Levolux Performs Clinically in Warwick

The University of Warwick’s new £6.7 million Mechanochemical Cell Biology Building is equipped with a host of innovative technologies that enable it to push the boundaries of biomedical research, including a bold Solar Shading solution from Levolux.

BMJ architects undertook the design of the 16,000 sq foot building, which represented a significant challenge. Not only were they required to satisfy the client’s scientific brief, but also a targeted BREEAM rating of ‘Excellent’, which was achieved. The completed building creates an attractive focal point for Gibbet Hill campus, sitting proudly at its main entrance.

The building accommodates research laboratories, equipment suites, and offices, all requiring controlled environmental conditions to be maintained throughout the year. To help make this possible, Levolux was invited to develop a custom Solar Shading solution.

The custom solution comprises an intricate arrangement of external, fixed aerofoil-shaped aluminium Fins, which wrap around two elevations, providing solar control for the building’s glazed openings.

Eleven vertical Fins have been applied to the building’s west-facing elevation, each measuring 700mm in depth and ranging in height from 6750mm down to 1900mm. These interconnect with thirteen horizontal Fins using 90 degree welded, mitred corners. The horizontal Fins, each measuring 400mm in depth, appear as two vertical stacks that run continuously along the building’s south and west facing elevations, with an upper stack of seven Fins and a lower stack of six Fins.

The seamless arrangement of vertical and horizontal Fins could only be achieved by combining Levolux’s Infiniti Fin system with its Triniti curtain walling bracket. This not only allows impressive spans, but also offers the flexibility to cantilever the Fins past the last support and for the vertical and horizontal Fins to be fixed at precise angles to create the optimum sun cut-off angle.

By effectively absorbing and reflecting the sun’s rays before they impact on glass, on exposed south and west facing elevations, the interior remains protected against excessive solar heat gain, which is essential to maintain a naturally cool, comfortable interior and virtually eliminates the need for expensive, energy sapping air conditioning.

All aluminium components are finished in a complementary light grey powder coating, which is extremely durable and easy to maintain.

The distinctive three-storey building, which links to the recently completed Clinical Trials Unit (CTU), represents the latest extension to Warwick Medical School (WMS). These two state-of-the-art facilities, equipped with contrasting Solar Shading solutions from Levolux, provide the controlled environments necessary to conduct important research and studies, which will, in time, lead to the development of new treatments to benefit patients.

For more information, visit