Wednesday, November 2, 2011

SE Controls' Automated Natural Ventilation System Maintains Air Quality Levels At Birmingham University

The Metallurgy and Materials building at Birmingham University consists of four similar three-storey blocks linked at the corners. The frame is of pre-cast reinforced concrete with columns in groups of four with the whole design planned as a tartan grid, allowing services to be carried vertically and horizontally throughout the building.

The building is a 3-storey construction comprising over 14,800m2 of gross floor space and was constructed in 1966 and designed by Sir Philip Dowson of Arup Associates.The building accommodates offices, teaching rooms, laboratories and storage. In 1966 the building won the RIBA Architecture Award for the West Midlands and in 1993 was Grade 2 listed.

In late 2009 a tender was issued for the refurbishment of the 45 year old building to bring it up to modern standards and has undergone a major refurbishment of its external facade. English Heritage were involved in the pre-contract discussions to ensure the design criteria for maintaining the aesthetic integrity of the iconic building was not compromised.

The previous glazing was based on a single glazed patent glazed system with a unique 'lead' feature. As part of the new design, this feature has been replicated using modern materials which included Schueco profiles, designed and supplied by facade specialist Parry Bowen. During the refurbishment work the building remained fully occupied.

The design included a fully automated natural ventilation system provided by SE Controls. Comprising of 238 No. TGCO 24 15 chain actuators connected to 44 No. OS2 control units, the system is based on a 24v DC. Partnering closely with the systems provider, Schueco and the specialist installer, Parry Bowen, the window actuator bracketry was designed to fit the specific window openings to ensure minimum resistance for a trouble free long life.

Working with Schneider Electric, the automated window installation was linked by both room temperature and CO2 sensors together with an external weather station to offer an adaptive natural ventilation solution. On a simple automated procedure when levels of CO2 and temperature exceed a given level, windows are automatically opened to provide ventilation.


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