Natural ventilation for airport

Airport buildings with their wide open spaces and high ceilings can only ever be energy hungry during the summer months, demanding air conditioning to satisfy the comfort criteria of both passengers and staff. This is why natural ventilation formed an important part of the design and redevelopment of East Midlands Airport (EMA) in Nottingham. Indeed, it is believed that by taking this bold initiative EMA becomes the first major Airport to employ energy free natural ventilation as a complete building services strategy to eliminate the need for air conditioning in most areas.
The £8m redevelopment of East Midlands Airport (EMA) in Leicestershire has been praised for its pioneering application of a number of sustainable technologies, including Monodraught natural ventilation and lighting systems that not only provide immediate low-carbon, low-energy benefits but also make a significant contribution to EMA’s commitment to being carbon neutral by 2012.
EMA is in fact the first major UK airport to adopt Monodraught Windcatcher natural ventilation as an alternative to air conditioning and Monodraught SunPipe natural daylight units to eliminate the need for electric lighting during daylight hours.
Among the new buildings are the Western Pier – a raised passenger walkway and gate lounge serving six aircraft stands, and a single-storey transport interchange located next to the arrivals area of the main terminal building.
The Western Pier, which is the main passenger concourse consisting of a 150 metre long raised footbridge and a 1,300 square metre lounge, is fitted with 18 Monodraught top down Windcatcher systems. These provide natural ventilation during the daytime and, because of their unique design, also provide free night time cooling which purges the building of stale air, leaving the lounge and passenger concourse feeling fresh and clean for when passengers arrive in the morning.
Commenting on the specification, EMA Head of Engineering David Howell said: “Airport passenger buildings often suffer from stuffiness due to inadequate provision for the input of fresh air, so Monodraught’s analysis of our ventilation requirements was an important first step. It included looking at average external wind speeds, determining the heat gain that had to be dissipated from each of the buildings, and calculating the ventilation rates for each of the three areas in order to achieve the required air-changes per hour. Their input proved invaluable and has ensured that the Windcatcher installation provides EMA with a year-round, balanced ventilation strategy that is energy-free and much healthier.”
The roof-mounted Windcatcher units bring wind driven fresh air into the building through external louvers, with the flow rate controlled using a damper system. Warm, stuffy air inside the building rises, and is expelled to atmosphere via the same Windcatcher units. Thus, the system delivers a reliable and controllable source of natural ventilation day and night to ensure a cool and pleasant environment throughout the building.
The transport interchange is designed to create the impression of a central street and is lit with natural light from three Monodraught SunPipes.
At roof level, the SunPipes’ polycarbonate diamond domes capture daylight and sunlight, which is then intensified and reflected into the building via a silverised, mirror-finish aluminium tube. Inside the building a prismatic ceiling fitting provides even light diffusion. EMA benefits from the system’s effectiveness in both sunny and overcast conditions, as well as gaining from long-term savings on energy costs and low maintenance.

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