Building envelope innovation delivers sustainability benefits and more at Prologis Park, Dunstable

CA Group Limited has completed work on a 30,000 sq. metredistribution centre at Prologis Park, Dunstable – the largest speculative warehouse development in the UK for some years – showcasing some of the latest innovations in building envelope design.

The distribution centre incorporates CA Group’s Twin-Therm® Cerberus curved roof, which was chosen not only because of its aesthetic appeal, but also as a result of its sustainable credentials. The design of the curved roof reduces the amount of ‘dead space’ within the warehouse, together with the associated heating costs and CO2 emissions. These savings are further boosted by the introduction of in-plane rooflights, which have been installed virtually from eaves to eaves, minimising shadows and maximising the amount of natural daylight coming into the building.

CA Group’s curved roof offers tenants a sustainable, money saving option as well as delivering a strong argument from a planning perspective. Because the curve results in a much lower apex, compared with standard pitched portal designs, it was easier to adhere to height restrictions put in place due to the close proximity of a housing development to the Dunstable site.

The tenant will benefit from a significant 576m2 of clear floor space, gained through the use of a 24m x 24m column layout. This is an increase of 12% uninterrupted column-free floor area, at no extra cost.

In addition, Prologis specified the inclusion of CA Group’s SolarWall® technology, a Transpired Solar Collector that works by capturing the sun’s energy. This energy is then used to pre-heat fresh, outside air, before it is drawn into the building’s heating system, considerably reducing its reliance on fossil fuels. Installed as an additional skin to a building’s southerly elevation(s), the TSC technology consists of a pre-coated steel or aluminium collector with thousands of carefully engineered perforations spread across its entire surface. The heat generated by the TSC, situated on the warehouse side of the building will feed the adjacent offices, providing a sustainable source of heat, reducing CO2 emissions and providing significant savings on heating bills.

Stuart Brown, Project Development Engineer for CA Group, commented:

“The latest innovations in building envelope design deliver lower operational costs for both the tenant, during their occupation of the warehouse, and the developer, due to the building’s sustainable credentials and long-term residual value. We are delighted to be able to showcase our capability on such a high profile development and for such a significant client.”

Twin-Therm®, a fully-walkable cost effective solution from CA Building Products, was selected for the roof and walls. Twin-Therm® was delivered as a carbon neutral envelope and successfully addresses the issue of water ingress, one of the biggest hidden costs, by eliminating the use of fasteners, which penetrate the system from the outside to the inside of the building. The system comes with a meaningful 25-year guarantee.

The issue of end of life disposal costs, associated with some blown foam insulations on the market, has also been avoided through the use of man made mineral fibre insulation throughout the building, a factor which also contributes significantly to the tenant’s business continuity plan by ensuring that, in the event of a fire, the building itself does not add to the fire load and toxic smoke emissions are also dramatically reduced.