Visitor centre is radiant

Designed as a model of sustainability and incorporating energy saving measures and renewable energy production, the state-of-the art, John Hope Gateway Visitor Centre at  Edinburgh’s Royal Botanical Gardens is fitted with Zehnder Flatline radiant heating and cooling panels.

A shining example of green construction the building offers unrivalled facilities to discover the world of plants and includes a Real Life Science Studio, permanent and temporary exhibitions, interactive media, Botanics shop, plant sales and Gateway Restaurant.

The energy efficient building services system for the £15.7 million project was designed by award winning Consultant Engineers Max Fordham and installed by mechanical contractor Emtec.

Bringing the tranquillity, beauty and ecological nature of the gardens into the building the Zehnder Flatline panel was chosen for its appearance, acoustic performance and efficient operation. Scott Stevenson, of Emtec Group explains: “As a flagship building for the gardens it was very important to meet the customer’s requirements and the Zehnder Flatline was specifically sought out for the project. The perforated panel ensures the absorption of sound and by integrating the panels with the track lighting system we were able to provide spot lighting to exhibits below. Even with the inconvenience of this non-standard installation the benefits of the panels far outweighed the complexities.”

A smooth, flat and lightweight panel, the Zehnder Flatline was suspended from the ceiling throughout the centre ensuring all valuable floor and wall space could be effectively used and retaining the aesthetics of the building design. Moreover the silent operation of the radiant panels maintains the centre’s peaceful atmosphere and helps improve the visitor experience.  

Contributing to the energy saving ethos of the project the Zehnder Flatline works on the principle of thermal radiation and only heats the objects in the room, as opposed to the total air. This process can achieve up to 40% energy savings on conventionally heated rooms as the internal air temperature is typically two to three degrees lower, while the resultant temperature of the room is the same.

With over 65,000 visitors in the first month of opening the centre is set to offer many new experiences and will be the venue for events and exhibitions at the gardens.

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