Modern Youth Centre, Shoeburyness

Modern Youth Centre, Shoeburyness

Client: Connexions Shoeburyness
Architect: Camal Architects Cambridge
Consulting Engineers – URS Scott Wilson
Mechanical Contractor – Coolfactor (Part of PH Jones Group)
Type of works: supply of Radiant Heating and Cooling panels

The new youth centre at Shoeburyness is a key meeting and educational resource for all young people. Managed by the local branch of Connexions, an organisation which provides a comprehensive service to meet young people’s needs for information, advice and support the centre aims to bring together the local youth community, offer educational, leisure and group initiatives and generally offer advice and guidance to all who need it.

The previous youth centre in the town was worn and dated so Connexions applied for a ‘myplace’ grant to assist with the building costs of a new facility. Working on behalf of the Department for Children, Schools and Families, ‘myplace’ aimed to deliver world class youth facilities driven by the active participation of young people and their views and needs. Successful with their application Connexions Shoeburyness was awarded a grant of £3 million for the design and build of a modern, cutting edge and fully equipped youth centre.

Involving the youth community from the outset the Council held extensive consultations with the young people in the area to find out what facilities they wanted to see in their new youth centre. As a result of the discussions Camal Architects of Cambridge were commissioned to design the new youth centre with a full range of state of the art facilities including a full size sports hall, gym with climbing wall, IT suite, recording studio, garage, art room and restaurant.

In addition to the physical requirements of the build the brief was to create a low energy, sustainable building that would be aesthetically pleasing, welcoming and robust, and that would meet the BREEAM (BRE Environmental Assessment Method) design and construction requirements of Southend Borough Council.

When it came to the HVAC aspect of the build URS Scott Wilson, in conjunction with Camal Architects, specified the use of Radiant Heating and Cooling panels. Following best practice in sustainable design and environmental performance the installation of radiant panels helped meet the demands of BREEAM, offering energy efficiency savings of more than 40% compared to alternative systems. This innovative technology also ensures extremely fast reaction times and provides a highly reactive system which is better able to achieve the desired room conditions with optimal efficiency. Moreover the dual function of heating in winter and cooling in summer within the single panel, together with the environmental benefits of low running costs and low emissions means the radiant panels will make a significant contribution to lowering both build and energy costs.

Under the BREEAM initiative and with a focus on Green Technology the centre specified the use of an air source heat pump for their energy source. Able to operate at lower water temperatures Radiant Heating and Cooling panels again met the project requirements and further enhanced the systems overall ability to achieve carbon reductions as part of building services.

On a more practical note, with a strategy to keep walls clear and maximise the space available radiant heating offered the ideal installation solution. Integration into the ceiling meant that there was no infringement on room space, which was particularly important given the function and equipment requirements of many of the rooms on site. Moreover their smooth surface and quality finish made them a visibly attractive HVAC system.

Different panels were installed throughout the site in order to meet the aesthetic and functional requirements of the given rooms. Perforated panels offering acoustic performance to reduce noise reverberation were installed in the reception area and sports hall. Panels with heating and cooling functions were used within the IT suite, sports hall and dance studio to ensure continual optimum temperature control when the rooms are in use and to allow for season variations in indoor temperature requirements.

Another factor which required consideration when specifying the HVAC systems was installation and maintenance costs. Easy to install the radiant panels were simply inserted in place of ceiling tiles so their uncomplicated design helped reduce time on site. The light weight structure of the panels and the fact that both connection pipes are located at the same end also meant that they were quick and simple to connect. Being maintenance free, Connexions are also assured that through-life running costs of the system will be kept to a minimum.

The new youth centre is now completed and has been officially opened for use. Carol Parker from Shoeburyness Connexions comments, “We are extremely pleased with the whole project and are pleased to be settled into the new centre. We’re especially keen to feel the benefits of a comfortable indoor climate whatever the weather outside, and/or the activity inside.”

Clients looking to increase their BREEAM rating, reduce carbon emissions and generally provide sustainable and cost-effective heating and cooling solutions for their customers can achieve these aims with radiant heating and cooling panels.

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