Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Levolux goes to the Wyre

The recently completed £6.9 million headquarters development for Wyre Forest District Council brings together its office-based staff into a building designed to achieve BREEAM “excellent” rating.  It benefits from a host of energy efficient features, including an external Timber Fin Solar Shading solution from Levolux.
Designed by Broadway Malyan Architects, the two-storey 3,585m2 building accommodates more than 200 staff who had previously occupied four different buildings in two nearby towns. The low carbon development is expected to benefit the local community by allowing the council to provide a more efficient service and by reducing the council’s running costs by as much as £500,000 each year.

Interconnecting offices, with distinctive pitched roofs are arranged around a series of courtyard gardens, which not only provide green open spaces for staff to enjoy during the day, but also allow natural daylight to filter through into the core of each building.

The building’s south-facing elevation, which accommodates the main entrance, extends to more than 77 metres in length, with full height glazed panels set between brickwork piers. It is here that the risk of solar heat gain is at its greatest.

Solar heat gain is commonly experienced inside a glazed conservatory on a sunny day. Heat from the sun’s rays pass through a glass exterior, warming the air inside. If external Solar Shading is not applied, a building’s energy costs can spiral as mechanical cooling and air conditioning systems are used to offset solar heat gain, to maintain a comfortable environment.

Thankfully modern, energy efficient buildings, like the new Wyre Forest District Council HQ are designed to control solar heat gain, using external Solar Shading. In this instance, Levolux devised a custom solution incorporating Western Red Cedar Timber Fins arranged into vertical stacks and into a horizontal projection at high level.
Finger jointed, laminated aerofoil-shaped Fins, each measuring 285mm deep by 45mm thick are aligned horizontally to form an external shading structure, measuring 7.2 metres high with a projection of 2.3 metres.

Fins are fixed at varying angles and with a graduated pitch to compensate for the sun’s changing position and intensity. This ensures the building receives greater protection from the sun in the summer, but less in the winter, when solar heat gain is welcomed. At the same time, the Fins allow good outward visibility for occupants.

The Fins are arranged into vertical stacks spanning 6 metres between steel columns, with the help of vertical drop rods running through the centre of all Fins. An innovative design allows the Timber Fins to be fully exposed from below, without being obstructed by steelwork. This helps to create a naturally warm and inviting aesthetic for staff and visitors as they pass under the Fins and enter the building.
All timber supplied by Levolux for this project is FSC-certified, derived from sustainable sources, with a full chain of custody. Western Red Cedar is a lightweight, durable timber and to create a naturally impressive aesthetic it was left untreated. Over time the Fins will acquire an attractive, silver-grey patina.

Councillor John Campion, Leader of the Council said:
“Moving into Wyre Forest House is the single most important step in our transformation programme, saving money for the taxpayer and allowing money to be diverted to the front line. It shows how we are committed to modernising the Council by providing flexible accommodation for our office-based staff and a fit-for-purpose venue for the formal meetings of councillors. I believe it will become an iconic public building that will serve the needs of the district for decades to come.” 

By moving into its new HQ, Wyre Forest District Council is committed to delivering a more effective and efficient service. With its innovative building technologies, such as the Timber Fin Solar Shading solution, the new building will also benefit the environment, by helping the council to reduce its carbon emissions from its office estate by as much as 85%. 

For more information, visit www.levolux.com.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Levolux takes sustainability to a new level

Originally built in 1991 as one of the earlier phases of the renowned Broadgate development, the eleven storey office building, 199 Bishopsgate in central London recently benefited from a £35 million refurbishment project, including a new roof level Louvred plant enclosure and internal Roller Blinds, both courtesy of Levolux.

John Robertson Architects carried out the refurbishment design, which followed a comprehensive brief from building owners British Land and Blackstone to transform the building’s interior and upgrade its energy performance, leading to carbon emission reductions of 60%.

The refurbished building, which is BREEAM ‘excellent’ rated, provides 140,000 sq ft of high quality office space, set in a prominent Broadgate Estate location in the heart of London’s financial district.

Work was carried out throughout the building and as the UK’s leading Louvre specialist, Levolux was approached at an early stage to develop a Louvred enclosure at roof level and to supply and install internal Roller Blinds on ten of the building’s eleven floors.
Perhaps the most significant change is at roof level, where new and replacement M&E plant has been consolidated. New energy efficient chillers now occupy this area alongside air handling units, providing greater operational efficiency and creating amenity space within the building.

A Louvred enclosure was required to screen unsightly plant from view and to allow large volumes of air to circulate around plant, which is essential for it to operate efficiently. The custom solution comprised Levolux’s ‘I’ Blade Louvres, along with Acoustic Louvres and Ventilation Louvres.

‘I’ Blade Louvres are arranged horizontally, formed into 140 panels positioned above the plant and equipment at roof level. These provide effective screening to exposed plant and equipment, presenting a clean, attractive appearance when viewed from overlooking buildings.
As plant and equipment has been relocated to roof level a higher level of acoustic insulation is required. To provide this, Levolux incorporated 74 panels of Acoustic Louvres into the inclined roof canopy, with faceted sections that follow the curved contours of the building.
In addition, Levolux used its ‘S’ profile Ventilation Louvres at a 100mm pitch to provide a weather-resistant, ventilated facade to protect the building’s heating and cooling plant. The Louvres, which are arranged vertically with a height of 2 metres, extend to a length of 7.5 metres and are backed by a 75mm thick insulated panel to protect against frost. 

Levolux also supplied and installed its popular 760L internal manual Roller Blinds throughout ten floors. In total, Levolux fitted 855 Roller Blinds, all featuring a stainless steel bead chain, a 20mm diameter extruded aluminium bottom bar and an attractive, cool grey fabric with an openness factor of 5%.

Thanks to the emphasis that British Land and Blackstone put on environmental considerations and the adoption of highly sustainable, energy efficient features, such as the consolidation of M&E plant under a Louvred roof enclosure, the building’s carbon emissions have been cut by a staggering 60%. This will not only benefit the building’s occupiers, but also the wider community.

For more information, visit www.levolux.com.