The environment inside an Audi Centre and the aesthetics outside, were both transformed following the installation of Monodraught natural ventilation and specially designed Windcatcher units.
Since Poole Audi Managing Director David Kelly acquired the Ringwood Road business from the Page Group in 2000, the phased remodelling of the 1,600m2 building has created a state-of-the-art facility with a ten-car showroom, modern 12- ramp workshop, handover bay, MOT testing bay and diagnostics bay, all designed to offer the true Audi experience.
The south-west facing showroom, which features a fully glazed frontage, suffered from high internal temperatures when low sun streamed into the building, making the environment uncomfortable for staff and visitors. So improved ventilation was one of the priorities addressed during the redevelopment, as David Kelly explains: “Energy conservation was high on our list so we wanted to avoid typical solutions involving unsightly ceilingmounted cassette units that are expensive to install, often noisy, and consume vast amounts of energy. We therefore asked our Building Services Consultancy, Worldwise, to find a responsible way to create a showroom temperature that was comfortable, without resorting to a mechanical system.”
Paul Cantwell of Bournemouth-based Worldwise Limited says: “We suggested the Monodraught Windcatcher natural ventilation system as the environmentally – friendly alternative. It certainly met Poole Audi’s brief to create a comfortable atmosphere for staff and customers, and it consumes virtually no energy. We worked with Monodraught to come up with a performance and cost analysis and whilst the capital cost of the three Windcatchers was slightly higher than split-unit air conditioning, estimates showed that it would pay for itself within two years due to the considerable savings on running costs, maintenance and other factors.
“The client agreed and gave us the go-ahead – a decision both he and his staff continue to benefit from.”
The redevelopment was carried out in three phases to ensure that business wouldn’t be interrupted during the refurbishment programme. As each phase was finished, which included fitting the Windcatchers, the client moved in and the next phase was begun. This meant that during each phase staff and customers benefited from natural ventilation while work was carried out.
As well as improving the internal environment, the Windcatchers were specially designed to enhance the Audi Centre’s rather boxy exterior. David Kelly and Worldwise were concerned that the standard Windcatcher designs would add height to the single storey building and, for planning reasons, asked Monodraught to come up with a low-profile design. The scalloped design that was eventually created was finished in a special colour to match the Audi silver, and everyone agrees that the units help to disguise the shape of the building and have created an aesthetically pleasing result.
Paul Cantwell reports that the Windcatcher re-design was typical of the cooperation from Monodraught staff throughout the refurbishment programme, and the units were still delivered on schedule. And instead of unsightly air conditioning units, the ceiling features neat grilles that sit underneath the Windcatcher units.
Everything is properly integrated and, as Paul explains, the Monodraught natural ventilation system is an exemplary way to create a comfortable environment without resorting to an energyhungry mechanical system: “In all, Monodraught and the Windcatcher systems certainly justified our recommendation to the client. Everyone is happy with the installation, the client is very proud of his building, and the Poole Audi staff enjoy the freshness of the environment created by the Windcatchers.”
Summing up for Poole Audi, David Kelly says: “Typically in premium buildings companies specify air conditioning to create an ideal temperature despite the prohibitive energy and environmental costs. The Windcatchers solution doesn’t use any power, yet still achieves a showroom temperature that is perfectly comfortable. It does everything we expected, is incredibly efficient and incredibly cheap to run. I can’t help thinking this is the way all businesses will have to go in the future.”