Hethel engineering excellence extends to ventilation design

Engineering excellence at a new 40,000ft2 facility extends right through to its ventilation strategy….

The £5.4m Hethel Advanced Manufacturing & Engineering Centre in Norfolk is using natural ventilation designed and supplied by leading independent manufacturer Gilberts of Blackpool to help air the low carbon building containing 16 workshops with adjoining first floor office space for high performance engineering and manufacturing companies in the region.

The scale and design of the building required exacting engineering from Gilberts: the five ‘penthouse’ roof terminals are up to 20m long, and the use of interlocking cladding for the walls required that the interlocking detail to be mimicked in the wall ventilation louvres.

Gilberts’ natural ventilation strategy, in line with that required by project consultants NPS, uses a combination of passive stack and cross flow ventilation on the two floors of the building. Boost fans and acoustic splitters ensure air quality without noise transfer is maintained throughout the building.

Gilberts met the brief by designing over 50 of its WH50 high performance louvres with interface detail for the ground floor, drawing fresh air in at low level, and extracting it at high level via the rooftop penthouse terminals. Strategically positioned boost fans draw the fresh air throughout the building, with the incoming, cooler air causing the ‘used’ warm internal air to rise and vent.

NPS engineering manager David Buxton commented:

“Natural ventilation provided the most cost-effective, sustainable solution for providing ventilation to the space. Gilberts, with its in-house design and manufacturing capability, was able to engineer a solution that delivered the BREEAM compliance required, and seamlessly integrated with the building architecture.”

All Gilberts’ systems are engineered to order, in the UK. Founded 50 years ago, privately owned Gilberts is unique in having its own, on-site (70,000ft2) 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.