The Innovation Centre features extensive VELFAC glazing, installed in long ribbons running the entire length of the two storey, cedar clad building, and as the main entrance screen. As well as providing maximum daylight for interior spaces, the glazing is also integral to the building's natural ventilation system, which uses automatically opening VELFAC windows to moderate internal temperature fluctuations, and to allow night time cooling. This natural ventilation system was also a large contributing factor to the Centres BREEAM 'excellent' rating.
Aesthetic benefits. Project Director Steven Clarke of Hopkins Architects explains the aesthetic and practical considerations which lay behind the decision to specify VELFAC glazing: 'One of the key aesthetic benefits of using VELFAC windows is the identical external appearance of opening and fixed units. This was particularly important, given that the building was naturally ventilated, as it gave us the flexibility to mix fixed and opening windows without any apparent change in the external appearance of the aluminium framing.'
Fully concealed motors. In addition to maintaining a uniform exterior, the motorised windows also maintained a clean internal finish. 'The actuators needed to drive the automatic windows could easily be incorporated into the timber frame,' explains Steven. The windows - and VELFAC - delivered other benefits too: 'The solar glass used prevented solar gain, and the trickle vents also helped contribute to overall ventilation, and therefore to the BREEAM rating. When planning the development, the VELFAC team provided free area calculations, and assisted in the steel reinforcement design used in the main entrance. 'All in all, VELFAC proved a cost effective option,' concludes Steven.
One of the key components to the function of the building is the controlled ventilation system, which was designed and installed by WindowMaster, Europes largest provider of natural ventilation and smoke detection solutions, and a sister company to VELFAC. Over 1,000 WindowMaster motors were installed within VELFAC window frames, and these were controlled using the WindowMaster NV Advance control system.