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Article Date: 3rd August 2015

Gilberts of Blackpool - Bespoke Solution Helps Achieve Aspirational Ventilation

Natural Ventilation - Air Movement - Ventilation Systems - Passive Ventilation

Gilberts The Phoenix Partnership

The ability to engineer bespoke solutions has enabled air movement specialist Gilberts of Blackpool to play a vital role in helping a leading healthcare IT provider achieve a new headquarters building for the future.

TPP (The Phoenix Partnership) aims to increase its staff levels from 200 up to 650 over the next few years, and had already outgrown its Horsforth, Yorkshire premises. Thus it is creating a new, £multi-million, 85,000 sq ft, four-storey head office which achieves a ‘very good’ BREEAM rating.

A specific element of the client brief was to utilise natural ventilation as far as possible, whilst delivering optimum flexibility for the office space. M&E consultant Silcock Leedham, commissioned by main contractor ISG, turned to Gilberts of Blackpool to help deliver the natural ventilation element, installed by M&E contractors AF Connell.

“The client’s aspiration of achieving zero mechanical cooling has been achieved,” observed Silcock Leedham senior mechanical engineer Steve Riley. “The client wanted to provide a feeling of wellbeing for staff, as there had been personal experience of poor air quality from fully mechanically ventilated buildings, and wanted a low energy solution.

“Gilberts is recognized as having a proven track record in natural ventilation. They were able to offer us the bespoke manufacturing required, cost-effectively: the ventilators range in size up to 1.9m x 1.5m, providing maximum airflow characteristics whilst meeting the stringent thermal, air tightness and weatherproofing performance for Building Regulation compliance.”

All the 156 Gilberts’ high performance louvres integrated into the façade provide a minimum free ventilation area of 50%, with a U value of 0.93W/m²K and air leakage as low as 5m³/hour/m². This is one of the best combined performances available on the market, and surpasses current requirements.

Gilberts’ natural ventilation ensures fresh air to almost all areas on the external perimeter of the building. It interfaces within the office space with a mixed mode mechanical system to provide fresh air for the deep plan inner areas.

Founded 50 years ago, privately owned Gilberts is unique in having its own, on-site (85,000ft²) manufacturing facility, producing engineered solutions, with an in-house test centre. Technical expertise is supported by bespoke software developed in partnership with the University of Strathclyde, addressing air movement and flow simulation/ computation fluid dynamics.

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