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Article Date: 9th May 2016

Gilberts of Blackpool - Helping Breathe New Life into Ulster

Air Movement - Natural Ventilation System - University of Ulster

Gilberts - University of Ulster

A Blackpool engineering company is playing a key role in helping transform aesthetically, socially and economically the centre of Belfast.

Gilberts, Britain’s leading air movement specialist, has provided natural ventilation for one of the first, and most important, buildings to be completed in the new £250m University of Ulster campus- the Faculty of Art, Design & the Built Environment (aka Blocks BA and BB).

The nine-storey building, which is split into a six-storey structure with an articulated upper level, features Gilberts’ Mistrale WHZ38 louvres to a bespoke design with Gilberts’ VN75 air inlet dampers incorporated into the aluminium clad façade.

The louvres have been installed by McLaughlin & Harvey to lead architect Fielden Clegg Bradley Studio’s design and specification, to ensure a controlled internal environment in the sky walkway, main communal area, classrooms and lecture theatre.

The 650mm x 800mm Mistrale high and low level dampers are integrated into the building management system, with manual opening at low level and automatic at high level, plus acoustic modulation to address potential noise ingress from the adjoining streets.

Fresh air into the zones is maintained @ 10l/s/p, temperature @ 23°C and CO2 @ 800ppm to CIBSE requirements/design parameters of -3°C up to 25°C. Optimised night cooling will operate between May and September, whereby the ventilators open at night to allow excess internal daytime heat build-up to escape.

The Mistrale ventilators further contribute towards the energy efficiency of the building, which has a high thermal mass. They achieve accurate and stable airflow with air leakage as low as 5m³/hour/m², with a U value as little as 0.93W/m2K. Gilberts maintains that no other similar ventilator offers such low air leakage and thermal performance in one unit, exceeding current and future requirements of potentially ≤7m³/hour/m².

Mistrale ventilators are also one of the slimmest of their kind on the market, at just 200mm deep.

“All parties involved stressed that the visual appearance is very important, and specified that the louvres had to be slimline,” explained Gilberts’ James Gordon. “The slimness of our Mistrale ventilators even including a 220mm silencer, coupled with their performance and our ability to engineer a special design, helped win the contract.”

All Gilberts’ systems are engineered to order, in the UK. Founded 50 years ago, privately owned Gilberts is unique in having its own, on-site (85,000ft²) 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.

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