Friday, 31 May 2013

Levolux brings comfort to classrooms

It doesn’t take a genius to know how vital keeping children cool is to ensuring they are healthy, happy and motivated. As any parent or teacher will tell you, a hot child is likely to be uncooperative, impatient and disruptive.

As the summer finally arrives and temperatures increase, Solar Shading is the perfect solution to any school’s temperature headaches. By effectively controlling how much direct sunlight enters a building through its windows, Solar Shading can significantly reduce unwanted solar heat gain and the need for expensive, energy sapping air conditioning.

While air conditioning can be expensive to operate, systems also require constant monitoring and regular servicing to ensure efficiency. This is also needed to prevent poor ventilation problems that can lead to Sick Building Syndrome – a hazard any school should want to avoid.

Traditional air conditioning has also been criticised for upping the level of carbon emissions in a building, which creates a serious long term impact on our environment. The application of solar shading has been proven to considerably reduce or even eliminate the use of air conditioning in schools and other buildings.

When designing the fabric of new schools, glass has never been more popular with architects, as it helps to provide a naturally lit and aesthetically pleasing environment. The need to regulate the amount of light entering a building is therefore more important than ever before.
Big windows and glass features certainly catch the eye but they can also create problems with unwanted heat gain and excessive glare affecting the well-being of pupils and teachers. Solar Shading solutions not only work effectively to combat solar heat gain and glare, they also complement any building design, creating a distinctive and attractive appearance.

After the initial outlay, Solar Shading requires very little attention or maintenance and makes for a sound long term investment. As the leading solar shading specialist, Levolux has developed an extensive range of internal and external solar shading products. From fabric roller blinds to aluminium or timber louvres, solutions can be tailored to incorporate a range of technologies and are designed to complement existing construction plans.

Older school buildings can benefit from Solar Shading too. By working side-by-side with clients, contractors and architects, it’s possible to identify the best products for retro-fitting a system – whatever the unique requirements of a scheme. Solar Shading not only blends naturally with the existing architecture, keeping the original character of the building, it also helps to revive older buildings and improve their energy efficiency.
Solar Shading solutions are eco-friendly and will meet any school’s environmental impact targets. Sustainability is a key priority for the Department of Education and Solar Shading products are sourced and used with this ethos firmly in mind. For example, the timber used for Levolux louvres comes from renewable sources, with a certified chain of custody, and their fabric roller blinds and aluminium louvres are fully recyclable.

Levolux is a leading provider of Solar Shading solutions to schools, colleges and universities across the country. Here we can look at some remarkable examples.

for instance, the innovative £23 million Langley Academy of Science. Designed by world renowned architect, Fosters + Partners, the Timber Fin Solar Shading system was designed, manufactured and installed by Levolux. Over 650 of its Timber Fins are installed over the windows around this curvaceous timber building, effectively reducing heat gain and acting as a working model of eco friendly technology for students to appreciate.
It’s not just the introduction of academies that is driving the change however. Michael Tippett School is a ground breaking SEN school situated in London and it utilised Levolux’s effective Solar Shading systems to both create a comfortable atmosphere and invigorate the centre’s bold aesthetic, with three rows of the company’s 9000 range Aluminium Louvres installed in three vibrant powder coated colours.
Bespoke designs have proven to be hugely effective when applied to educational centres, by reducing carbon emissions and providing optimum environmental conditions, whilst providing a spectacular design feature.

Lancaster University’s Statistics Centre is no different. Demonstrating how custom made Solar Shading solutions can really make a difference, Levolux stepped forward to design an innovative Solar Shading solution, combining Ventilation Louvres with Brise Soleil and a unique series of ‘solar chimneys’. 
Resembling tall glass towers, the five ‘solar chimneys’ were fitted to the southern elevation of the Statistics Centre and are connected by vents to the lecture rooms inside. When heated by the sun, warm stale air is extracted from the building by the process of convection and fresh cool air is drawn in, helping to maintain an optimum room temperature. 

Levolux Solar Shading solutions, like those described, are not only affordable and energy efficient, but most importantly they maintain a cool, comfortable environment with good natural lighting. Perhaps the most significant result for teachers and parents is that pupils will remain cool, calm and attentive during lessons and during exams this summer. 

To find out more about Solar Shading solutions for schools, visit

Monday, 20 May 2013

Levolux makes news at London 2012

The London 2012 Media Centre in east London, the fifth of the six Olympic venues to be constructed, is equipped with a host of energy efficient and highly flexible features, including a custom Solar Shading solution, from Levolux.

Occupying a canal-side location in the North West corner of the London 2012 Olympic Park, the Media Centre, which was designed by Allies and Morrison, comprises the International Broadcasting Centre (IBC) and Main Press Centre (MPC), with a combined floor area of 110,000 sq metres.

The huge £297 million complex, which is arranged around a central ‘high street’, played host to more than 20,000 media workers during the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, allowing them to broadcast to a global audience in excess of 4 billion people.

During the Games, the Main Press Centre was home to hundreds of journalists and photographers working around the clock, using state-of-the-art digital technology to capture and share information about events as they unfolded.

Maintaining a carefully controlled, comfortable working environment was critical to ensure a first-class service could be delivered throughout the Games. This is also a vital element to attract tenants as the building passed into legacy use. To facilitate this, Levolux was invited to develop a custom, external Solar Shading solution.
Working closely with the architects, Levolux devised a solution comprising its Sunbreaker Brise Soleil system and its Infiniti® Fin system. These were applied across and above glazed openings.

The Sunbreaker Brise Soleil system is used to form a series of horizontal projections fixed above glazed openings on all four floors. Applied to the south-west and south-east elevations, the horizontal projections are formed from 850mm deep single skin perforated aluminium louvres, secured between profile cut end plates.

Where perforated projections are applied above ground floor openings, recessed back into a series of bays, aluminium drop rods have been incorporated, helping them achieve spans of almost 8 metres.

In total, Levolux provided 174 pre-assembled perforated panels, with a combined length of more than 700 metres. These help to prevent excessive solar heat gain, while maximising daylight levels and allowing unobstructed outward visibility.

Levolux also fitted its Infiniti Fin system in six vertical sections, applied to the south-west and north east elevations. The extruded aluminium Fins used on this project were custom made to tie in with the adjacent sinusoidal cladding panels. Each oval-shaped Fin measures 40mm high by 60mm deep, arranged horizontally across glazed panels. In total the extruded aluminium tubular Fins cover an area of 50 square metres, creating a seamless external aesthetic, which continues across full-height openings.

To complete the solution, Levolux used its Infiniti Fin system again, but this time with rectangular shaped Fins, applied horizontally, extending more than 150 metres above ground floor openings on the north east elevation. The continuous Fin creates a canopy measuring 350mm deep by 75mm high, formed from extruded aluminium components.

The perforated Brise Soleil projections applied to the upper three floors are finished in a striking sunflower yellow powder coating, while all other components are finished in a subtle grey powder coating, complementing the overall scheme. 
Levolux’s Triniti® curtain walling brackets were also incorporated into the scheme to introduce a unique thermal and acoustic break. This also eliminates the risk of interstitial condensation from occurring.

Almost a year after the Games, as the Main Press Centre prepares for legacy use, new tenants are being finalised. Following a £100 million transformation, the complex will re-open in 2014 as a new hi-tech creative hub. Thanks to the custom external solar shading solution, from Levolux and other sustainable features, the Main Press Centre is ideally equipped to serve at the heart of this complex, impressing a global audience once again. 

For more information please visit

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Levolux tackles noise and heat in Cardiff

The recently completed, award-winning £30 million Hadyn Ellis Building at Cardiff University creates the ideal environment for world-leading scientific research teams to make progress, thanks to the inclusion of a multi-purpose Solar Shading solution, courtesy of Levolux.

As the main focal point of the Maindy Park research campus, the Hadyn Ellis Building, named in honour of the late Deputy Vice-Chancellor, is purpose-built to foster a closer working relationship between all of the University’s schools and encourage greater public awareness and involvement in the cutting-edge research being carried out.

Designed by IBI Nightingale (formerly Nightingale Associates) to achieve a BREEAM ‘excellent’ rating, the five-storey building is packed full of state-of-the-art, energy-saving technology. Recognising the innovative design and construction methods employed, the BRE recently judged the building to be the ‘greenest education building’ in Wales under its Higher Education category.

Levolux, a world-leader in the development of solar shading solutions, was approached at an early stage in the project to design, manufacture, supply and install a custom solution for the Hadyn Ellis building. This comprised its Infiniti Fin system, Aerofoil Fins, Acoustic Fins and Ventilation Louvres.

The building, which incorporates two distinctive blocks sandwiching a central atrium, runs parallel with a railway line which lies to the south-west, in close proximity to the rear of the building.

The four-storey northern block features brightly coloured curtain walling, with regular glazed openings. This block houses the building’s main entrance, along with public areas and an exhibition hall at low levels, with write-up and support areas at higher levels. It is critical that these areas remain cool and quiet at all times.

To satisfy the challenging project specific requirements, Levolux was able to offer a unique solar shading solution which has impressive acoustic attenuation properties.

Wrapping around three elevations of the northern block, is an array of horizontal, rectangular profile Acoustic Fins, each measuring 400mm deep by 50mm thick. Fixed at 90 degrees, the Fins perform three important functions.

Firstly, the Fins shield the building from the sun, thereby reducing solar heat gain. Secondly, they provide effective acoustic attenuation, thanks to a perforated underside and a mineral wool acoustic infill. An integral water resistant, breathable membrane protects the acoustic infill material, ensuring long-lasting acoustic performance. Thirdly, the Acoustic Fins diffuse views from the Hadyn Ellis Building across to smaller neighbouring residential properties, creating a form of privacy screen. 
In addition, three extruded aluminium Aerofoil Fins, each measuring 200mm wide, are grouped together to form a horizontal projection, providing shade to fourth floor windows.

The building’s five-storey southern block houses laboratories and research areas where control of light and heat is a top priority. To help achieve this, Levolux worked closely with the architects to devise an arrangement of vertical and horizontal Fins, applied across two elevations. 
Levolux’s Infiniti Fin system is utilised on the block’s south-west facing elevation to form a series of vertical 400mm deep, aerofoil-shaped Fins. Eleven Fins are set at 3.3 metre centres, applied across a central glazed screen measuring almost 40 metres wide by 10 metres high. The vertical Fins, each fixed at 90 degrees, divide the glazed screen into 12 bays.

Complementing the vertical Fins is a series of 200mm deep horizontal aerofoil-shaped Fins, fixed between each of the 12 bays. The Fins are grouped into four rows, providing shade at high level on three floors. Fins have also been applied either side of the central glazed screen, across ribbon windows. Here the Fins are grouped into two rows, applied on three levels. These continue around the building onto the south-east facing elevation.

200mm deep extruded aluminium Aerofoil Fins have also been incorporated into panels, each comprising five Fins, fixed across glazed openings at ground floor level. 

All 200mm deep Fins applied on this project are fixed at an angle of 45 degrees, which provides the optimum sun cut-off angle to balance the need to reduce solar heat gain and maintain daylight levels.

To complete the solution, Levolux also fitted its standard and high performance Ventilation Louvres, extensively at ground, third and fourth floor levels.

Standard and high performance Ventilation Louvres have been applied to two elevations of the ground floor generator room at the rear of the building. Both louvred sections measure 8 metres in length by 5 metres in height.

Extensive Louvred sections have also been incorporated to conceal plant and equipment located on the third and fourth floors.

Ventilation Louvres are backed by 120mm deep insulated backing or protective birdmesh, where required, to satisfy special requirements. Sections are also fitted with single and double louvred doors to allow easy access for routine maintenance.

All horizontal Fins and Louvres, together with support arms, are finished in an attractive and durable, cool grey powder coating. As a ‘stand-out’ feature, the vertical Fins are finished in a bright orange gloss powder coating. 

The Hadyn Ellis Building makes best use of natural resources where possible, including the application of Levolux’s passive Solar Control and Acoustic Louvres. Thanks to these and other energy efficient features, the building is equipped to support ongoing pioneering research and studies, for the benefit of all. 

For more information please visit