Gilberts screens low-carbon student accommodation

Air movement specialist Gilberts is playing a discreet role in helping University of Birmingham develop its first ever net zero carbon student accommodation.

The Pritchatts Park Residence Project sees refurbishment of existing and building of new sustainable residences for students, to enhance their experience and help establish the University as one of the top 50 in the world.

Central to the Project is Pritchatts House, a five-storey block of 21 flats for 163 students, with its building services provided via rooftop air source heat pumps and solar panels, the latter generating energy for the whole complex. To minimise visual and acoustic impact on the environment, the plant is concealed behind a 2m high x 35m long acoustic louvre screen.

Designed, manufactured and supplied by Gilberts Blackpool, the screen has been installed by Steane Ltd as part of its M&E contract with Project manager Equans.

Gilberts worked closely with Steane Ltd to develop the most effective solution, advising its ALS/15 single bank louvre, produced in sections up to 3m long to enable craning onto the roof. Only 150mm deep, the ALS/15 still attains a visual free ventilation area of 50% with weighted SRI (sound reduction index) of 10dBA. To facilitate access to the plant behind for service & maintenance, a single louvre door, also acoustically treated, was included in the design.

Commented Jeremy Hall, Steane Ltd Director,

“Pritchatts Park as a whole is intended to enhance the student experience and give students some of the best living spaces possible. The height of Pritchatts House meant that plant noise could potentially travel across the complex so we needed an aesthetically pleasing way to minimise that. Gilberts delivered, enabling us to achieve the desired result on time and on budget.”

Gilberts is one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of louvre screening, developed over the years to provide a comprehensive package to keep pace with the evolution of building design and structural interfaces, initially and as/if the building structure is altered. In addition to the acoustic options, Gilberts produces standard and high performance, factory- and site- assembled variants.

The All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club (aka Wimbledon), Papworth Hospital, the former home of Saga Record The Gramophone Works and Manchester’s iconic PrintWorks are among the venues to benefit from Gilberts’ louvres.

Founded over half a century ago, and still family-owned, Gilberts is the UK’s leading independent air movement engineer. It is unique in its ability to design, manufacture and test all products- including bespoke fabrications- in-house, to the extent it even designs and manufactures its own tools at its 140,000 sq ft head office and production facility.