Specifying glazing products for educational buildings can be a challenge. These environments require an abundance of daylight, but with stringent environmental policies weighing heavily on the public sector, efficiency must be front of mind too.
Thermal efficiency can become particularly problematic when specifying large panes of glass: walking the tightrope between impressive aesthetic design and a building that offers the thermal performance required to keep running costs down.
Brunel University’s recent £13.8m redevelopment project on its 4,7102 Wilfred Brown Building is a case in point. The university’s College of Engineering, Design and Physical Sciences required a new roof that would create a lighter, brighter learning environment for students; whilst offering thermal efficiency to prevent heat loss in the winter and ensure temperatures aren’t uncomfortably warm during the summer.
Student safety was also a top priority. Architects needed to guarantee glazing durability for generations to come; with a glazing solution that stands the test of time against the extremes of seasonal weather. Specifiers at West London’s Brunel University had previously worked with us before on a bespoke rooflight solution, so it was pleasing to see them specify us a second time for their unique roofing requirements.
Mark Lambert, Sales Director at Sunsquare, said: “As a university renowned for delivering exceptional standards of education, it was imperative that Brunel’s upgraded facilities reflected the same high standards.
“One of the main challenges faced by the remodelling team was to create a more welcoming space for visitors, increasing light in poorly lit areas of the building.
“Studies have shown that the benefits of natural light in learning facilities can be significant, providing access to vitamin D can improve students’ mood, focus, productivity and attendance. Rooflights are the perfect solution – as they emit twice as much natural light as an equivalent sized vertical window.
“However, for Brunel, it didn’t stop there. The university needed to ensure proper heat loss protection too. With such a large atrium to heat, a rooflight with a thermally efficient profile was the only way to keep heat loss to a minimum and energy bills as low as possible.”
By incorporating six made-to-measure Skyview flat roof skylights – featuring our unique thermal technology – into their tender drawings from the outset, the project’s architects were able to strike the right balance between much-needed natural light and exceptional thermal efficiency.
The Wilfred Brown Building was fitted with four (1514 x 3514mm) glass pane Skyview rooflights, spanning the full length of the atrium. Two smaller (1000 x 2000mm) Skyview rooflights were installed above darker corners over a neighbouring staircase.
All six panes featured a laminated inner pane for optimum durability and glass safety, along with fully thermally broken frames, delivering the most energy efficient rooflight profile on the market. The panes were also specified with SN70 solar controlled glass to regulate interior temperatures in the warmer months.
For a university filled with hundreds of students each day, knowing that heat loss or solar gain will never be an issue provides complete peace of mind for both specifiers and university staff alike.
“Brunel University is a perfect example of how functionality and sustainability can work together within an education facility,” added Lambert.
“Opting for fully thermally broken rooflights meant Brunel’s specifying team could guarantee unbeatable U-value performance, creating a greener, more energy-efficient building – and still deliver a rooflight that can cope with the battering of wind and rain for decades to come.”