The Sky Believe in Better Building is a showpiece in the heart of the Sky UK Limited West London campus. Completed in September 2014, the office and training complex is an example of how sustainable building practices and energy-efficient long-term operation can work in harmony with genuine architectural prowess.
The building was originally envisaged to be a ‘pop-up’ tent in October 2013, however a year later it was redesigned and delivered as a fully functional, timber framed, three-storey teaching academy.
This unique timber frame supports the building’s steep glass façades, which whilst complementing the primary architectural feature of the building, provided their own challenges for the project. Glass is a poor insulator so Mace MEP sought a manufacturer that could provide a specialist solution to combat with inherent levels of heat loss, and one with proven experience in overcoming the challenges of working on fast-moving, sustainable commercial building projects.
William Couch, Mechanical Engineer at Mace MEP, provided more detail: “Mini Canal perimeter trench heaters were specified as the perfect solution to deal with the heat loss, but there were other factors which had the potential to limit our options for an effective heating system,” said Couch. “The building required energy efficient heating to achieve BREEAM Excellent compliance, and it incorporated a displacement ventilation system with a 450mm floor void, which posed some complications in mounting and installation.”
The Mini Canal’s powerful natural output capability satisfied the need for comfortable temperatures, and was the ideal solution for meeting BREEAM requirements through its Low-H₂O radiator technology – low mass, low water content radiators that use just a tenth of the water required by standard steel panel radiators.
The trenches were installed within the building’s main staircase in tailored boxes that Jaga provided specifically for this project. This resolved the issue of accommodating the 450mm floor voids, as well as yielding more heat output to compensate for not using fan assisted versions.
These design factors were scoped out through the use of Building Information Technology (BIM), which helped to plan, design and construct the building, but also to perform a whole life cycle analysis. Because Jaga was able to supply Revit compatible BIM files for its products, the designers and architects could accurately predict the heaters’ energy performance levels and see how they could be incorporated into available spaces.
Mace MEP also required a flexible partner that could provide an all-encompassing service in line with the complex project programme. “The biggest challenge was the building programme itself, and we needed support from our supply chain as they needed to be able to adapt to any changes along the way.” said Couch.
“Jaga were involved from the beginning and worked with us throughout the design period. They were able to stagger the deliveries so that we received them floor-by-floor, which was synchronised with the construction programme,” he added. “With a programme this fast there were inevitable design changes as the build developed. Jaga were always quick to respond when we needed modifications made to the trench boxes as specifications changed.”
To ensure the radiators were stylishly incorporated into the contemporary design, Jaga provided custom roll-up anodised aluminium grilles (RNA). In addition to the Mini Canal trench heaters, 28 Tetra designer radiators were used to warm the building’s stairwells.
In adapting proven products to meet the requirements of the project, Jaga helped to ensure that the architectural vision for the Sky Believe in Better Building was retained and that its occupants could work in a comfortable, energy efficient environment.