Monodraught natural strategies help sustainable Diploma Exemplar Projects aim for BREEAM Excellent
Monodraught has created a special natural ventilation strategy for the Diploma Exemplar Projects using Windcatcher X-Air natural ventilation systems, its brand new Ventsair wall vents complete with motorised low-leakage volume control dampers, and an iNVent natural ventilation control system regulating temperature and CO2 levels in two zones.
The recently completed Diploma Exemplar Programme in East Sussex consists of four buildings: one at Beacon Community College in Crowborough – the lead Creative Learning Centre and the main building within the Programme – and three new ‘Outreach’ Creative Learning Centres at Claverham Community College (Battle), Oathall Community College (Haywards Heath) and Ringmer Academy (near Lewes). The Centres are strategically located across Sussex and have been provided to support modern vocational courses. They are equipped with a high level of technology including video conferencing facilities, laptops & tablets, wireless network connections, a multi-direction projector and 3D projector, enabling students county-wide to communicate with each other from an exciting and dynamic environment.
ECE Architecture won the contract to design all four buildings. The three Outreach Centres completed by Farnrise Construction are very different to typical “classrooms” as these highly sustainable buildings were conceived to use minimal resources in both construction and operation. In order to complement this sustainable philosophy ECE specified a natural ventilation and natural daylight strategy supplied and installed by Monodraught.
Commenting on the selection, Paul Jacob of ECE says: “As a practice we often specify Monodraught because we have confidence in its tried and tested range of core products.
Proprietary software and Monodraught’s project team provided the data to help our consultant Gifford produce computer modelling to profile the building against occupancy, temperature and CO2 levels.”
One of the most unusual features of the ECE design for the Centres is the use of ‘rammed-earth’ construction, which was developed with one of the countries leading experts in Ramcast together with Conker Conservation. This used soil excavated from each of the campuses as the main material for the walls of the buildings. Unlike bricks, the embodied energy cost of the material is zero as the earth did not need to be transported long distances or use lots of energy to produce – it was extracted on-site and, once compressed, is very strong and a very good insulator. A membrane around the outside of the earth protects it from rain and prevents it from becoming mud. The outside surface is then finished with a timber cladding. The result is a natural-looking interior space, with a consistent ambient temperature throughout the year due to the thermal-mass of the walls. This reduces the requirement for heating the buildings and also creates a comfortable environment in which to study.
The Monodraught natural ventilation strategy provides an optimum learning environment for the flexible open spaces of the 110 square metre Outreach Centres, which each accommodate a single teaching room plus an office and toilet. On the inside the walls are sealed with a clear water-based solution that maintains the natural look of earth.
The Monodraught equipment installed in each Outreach Centre includes one of the latest Windcatcher X-Air natural ventilation systems, five of Monodraught’s new Ventsair wall vents complete with motorised low-leakage volume control dampers, and an iNVent natural ventilation control system regulating temperature and CO2 levels in two zones.
The ventilation strategy plays an important role in controlling humidity in the buildings as their underfloor heating systems are also linked to a Monodraught iNVent natural ventilation control system. .
Additional automatic louvers that are integral to the windows in each building are also controlled by temperature and CO2 sensors in parallel with the iNVent control system, to create a very simple system enabling pressure to be released via the roof-mounted Windcatcher X-Air systems when the louvers are opened.
Each Outreach Centre also benefits from two Monodraught Sunpipe systems, which deliver natural, sustainable lighting during daylight hours.
The 700 square metre building for the Lead Creative Learning Centre at Beacon Community College was a contemporary Design & Build project completed by Vinci Construction, which specified Monodraught’s Suncatchers – a combined Windcatcher and Sunpipe system – to serve a large teaching space. The building’s windows are also fitted with automatic louvers, linked via a Monodraught iNVent control system to work with the natural ventilation system within the Suncatchers. The iNVent system controls a total of six zones.
The sustainability of the entire Diploma Exemplar Programme design is reinforced by each building being designed to achieve the coveted BREEAM rating of Excellent.
A spokesman for Monodraught says the company is delighted to be included in such an innovative and sustainable project.
Windcatcher, Sunpipe and Suncatcher are registered trademarks owned by Monodraught Limited.
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In the current climate of soaring energy prices and the fear of global warming, increasing attention is being focused on Monodraught’s range of energy-free products. Monodraught has always sought to invent, explore and develop innovative technologies that harness the wind and sun. Products include Windcatchers, Sunpipes, Suncatchers, Sola-vents, Sola-boosts and Cool-Phase.