“Northern Powerhouse” is being given a whole new meaning with the opening of Calderdale’s new multi-million pound Central Library & Archives in Halifax.

Calderdale Council’s BREEAM “Excellent’ rated building- designed by LDN Architects- utilises sustainable strategies to reduce its carbon footprint- including a highly insulated building envelope, ground heat source pumps, a rooftop array of photo-voltaic panels and low energy LED lighting throughout. Also, through engineering innovation from Blackpool-based Gilberts, the edifice is self-ventilating- even for the vast amount of plant required to service the four-storey building. This is achieved by using BMS controlled actuated dampers within the facade and at roof level.

“Ensuring an appropriate, fresh internal environment for occupants and contents was a significant challenge,” observes Gilberts’ Technical Director Roy Jones. “We needed to design solutions that would discreetly blend with the architecture, yet ensure adequate fresh air inside for people using the building, adequate removal of moisture to protect the contents as well as expel all the excess heat from the IT suites.”

As the solution 65 no Mistrale 75 glazed natural ventilation units fitted with acoustic attenuation, and LTHW heat coils to warm incoming air, have been built into the façade by main contractor GRAHAM Construction drawing fresh air into the Library.

With the main atrium acting as a passive stack, the warm, used air is drawn through and vented through the roof, via 8no purpose-designed and constructed penthouse roof terminals. The 7 main penthouse terminals also incorporate Gilberts’ Mistrale 75 natural ventilation control dampers to insulate and further optimise extraction ranging in size from 2m x 1.4m x 0.75m to 6m x 2.2m x 1.5m; a further giant T shaped penthouse terminal was designed to cover 3 separate shafts in one unit and measured 8m x 6m x 1.5m.

“The T shaped penthouse louvre was so big it was nicknamed the bungalows by our engineering team in the factory!” says Roy Jones.

Further enhancing the project’s overall environmental credentials the Gilberts’ Mistrale ventilation dampers – used in the Library’s façade and most of the roof penthouses(*)- deliver the best combined performance for U-values and air leakage of its type, surpassing current and medium-term future regulatory requirements. They are proven to deliver a smooth stable and accurate airflow.

Gilberts hasn’t just ventilated the inside of the building though. In line with Calderdale Council’s requirements for the building, GRAHAM Construction commissioned Gilberts to design and fabricate louvre screening to protect and visually hide the roof level plant equipment – one roofed, measuring 19m x 8.5m x 2.3m, and one open, measuring 5m x 4m x 2.3m.

Adds Andrea Heath, GRAHAM Regional Building Services Manager, “Because Gilberts can design, engineer, and test, all air movement components- standard and bespoke- in-house, it gave us the assurance to use its expertise, bearing in mind the sheer scale of elements required.”

Explained Councillor Susan Press, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member fir Neighbourhoods and Communities, “One of our Council priorities is to become more sustainable. The new Central Library & Archives is a real flagship building. It harnesses the latest environmental technologies to reduce the building’s carbon footprint and energy running costs, in an impressive setting with state of the art facilities and iconic heritage features.”

All Gilberts’ systems are engineered to order, and comprehensively tested in its own purpose-built centre, in the UK.

Founded 50 years ago, privately owned Gilberts is unique in having its own, on-site (95,000ft2) 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.

tel: 01253 766911

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