Regeneration for Fenland

The biggest development project in the Fens for centuries is harnessing advanced design and technology to breathe new life into a derelict area.

The central feature of the £47m Nene Waterfront regeneration is the Boathouse and its adjacent Business Space office building, which take inspiration from the maritime location whilst aiming to fulfil best practice philosophy. As a result, sustainability has been at the forefront of the design, including incorporation into both buildings of Passivent mixed mode ventilation.

The Passivent system harnesses natural air movement principles of convection (whereby warm air rises) to effectively ventilate the buildings whilst giving a significant reduction in CO2 emissions, and avoiding the use of ozone depleting substances. Advanced control equipment monitors the building’s air quality and temperature constantly; should temperatures rise beyond presets in exceptional circumstances (eg a spell of unusually hot or cold weather), the system triggers a Mitsubishi air conditioning system to supplement the ventilation to restore ambient temperatures to comfortable levels.

Will Lockwood, of project architects Feilden+Mawson, elaborated: “The Boathouse project seeks to reflect best practice in energy conservation and BREEAM standards, including natural ventilation, rainwater harvesting, high levels of natural daylight and orientation of the buildings to control solar gain. It is hoped that with the incorporation of Passivent louvres, air handling and conditioning energy will be greatly reduced while also providing the building users the benefits of a healthy and pleasant working environment, offering an adaptive and flexible solution to ensuring air quality is maintained to a high standard in a manageable way.”

To achieve this, the focal point three-storey Boathouse which provides a café, display space, yacht club, harbour offices and conference space, includes a combination of 11 Passivent wall and window Aircool units, drawing fresh air into the building, and extracting warm, used air via the stairwell which dual-functions as a stack or chimney to the Airstract roof terminal. The adjacent, two-storey Business Space incorporates 30 Passivent wall Aircool units to again draw fresh air in at low level. The cooler external air pushes the warm, internal air through acoustic transfer units to be exhausted through high level wall Aircool ventilators.

The entire system is fitted with modulating actuators which help to effectively control the ventilation flow as dictated by the central Passivent/Mitsubishi mixed mode controller, to ensure air quality and temperature is maintained 24/7, without draughts.

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