Keeping a natural environment

Marwell Wildlife, a wildlife park dedicated to the conservation of wildlife and natural habitats, has opened a new restaurant called Café Graze which employs the latest green technology, including Monodraught Windcatcher natural ventilation systems and Sunpipe natural lighting. An ungulate building housing Congo buffalo and bongos has also been fitted with Windcatcher systems, ensuring that animals and humans enjoy healthy, naturally ventilated environments whilst keeping energy usage to a minimum

Café Graze is designed to provide grandstand views of Marwell Wildlife’s African Valley where Grevy’s zebra, ostrich and waterbuck roam free

Monodraught Windcatcher natural ventilation systems and Sunpipe natural daylight systems were considered very early on in the concept for Cafe Graze, as the brief from Marwell Wildlife was to make the building as sustainable as possible. Garry Reynolds of Ray Hole Architects explains: “With a lot to achieve within the project’s £1.2 million budget there were fairly tight limitations, so we adopted ‘back to basic’ philosophies: one of which was to naturally ventilate the building wherever we could; and another was to provide as much natural daylight into the building as possible. Importantly, both reduce energy costs.

At first we were concerned that it would mean using a mechanical system. However, the M&E contractor suggested a hybrid system using a mechanical extractor in the kitchen as required by building regulations, and Monodraught Windcatcher natural ventilation units installed in the restaurant roof area.

“The mechanical extractor creates sufficient negative pressure to draw in air through the Windcatchers, whose control dampers are linked to the building’s management system via a Monodraught iNVent control unit. The Monodraught natural ventilation system varies the volume of fresh air to create a comfortable environment throughout the restaurant.”

Whilst Marwell Wildlife wanted to visually express any sustainable element of the project wherever possible, the one metre high Windcatcher units are visible but blend in nicely.

Summing up Monodraught’s role, Garry says: “We did have a couple of technical issues with the installation of steelwork but Monodraught’s technical team were very helpful in overcoming the site issues for us. In fact they were very helpful generally, not only specifying and helping us to arrive at the right design solution in the first place, but also providing technical support during the construction work.”

Windcatchers are also fitted in one of the wildlife park’s ungulate buildings, which is home to Congo buffalos, and bongos. It is essential that this building is effectively ventilated to ensure that noxious gases, moisture and excessive heat, all produced by the animals, are removed. Says Jon Adams, facilities manager for Marwell Wildlife: “A natural ventilation strategy seemed ideal, and is important, particularly for large animals such as the Congo buffalo and bongo, to provide a comfortable environment. Doors need to be open during the day to allow animals access outside but are usually closed when the animals are in at night. Throughout the year the Monodraught Windcatcher installation automatically provides the level of natural ventilation required without the need for manual control.”

Three Windcatchers and eight Sunpipes are installed in the Marwell Wildlife restaurant; and four Windcatchers are installed in the ungulate building. Monodraught Sunpipes are also having a beneficial affect on the animals in a refurbished Chimpanzee House at the Welsh Mountain Zoo and in a Quarantine Unit at Chester Zoo.

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