Surrey university sports park chooses windcatcher natural ventilation systems for world class badminton facility

A new world class Sports Park located within the University of Surrey campus lists among its wide range of facilities a 50 metre, eight-lane swimming pool, a 12 metre high climbing centre and 21 sports pitches.

Opening in spring 2010, the latest additions to this vast sports complex are two multi-purpose sports halls – one an 8-court and the other a 4-court – both of which are benefitting from Monodraught WINDCATCHER® natural ventilation systems.

Initially, a university-appointed consulting team had developed the sports halls to RIBA Stage D, enabling preliminary tenders to be obtained for their design and build; and at this concept stage a mechanical ventilation system had been proposed.

Following the tender mechanical and electrical engineers Van Zyl & De Villiers were appointed as consultants to the project’s main contractor and, in consultation with the University’s team, agreed some changes to the original proposal, primarily the replacement of energy-hungry mechanical ventilation with a Monodraught natural ventilation strategy that would significantly reduce energy costs and the University’s carbon footprint.

Commenting for Van Zyl & De Villiers, director Paul Vorster says the biggest challenge for both companies was to demonstrate that the buildings wouldn’t overheat during maximum occupancy in summer, which in the larger of the two halls meant creating a comfortable environment for spectators whilst not interfering with the actual sports being played.

He adds that the number and size of WINDCATCHER systems required to accommodate maximum occupancy was specified following extensive thermal modelling by Van Zyl & De Villiers.

Whilst the environmental benefits were the main concern for Surrey University, the client was delighted that specifying natural ventilation also released a significant amount of space that originally had been allocated for a plant room.

A total of eighteen 2000mm x 1200mm oval WINDCATCHERS were supplied and installed by Monodraught. In Sports Hall 1, four are located over the badminton courts and eight over the seating area. Of the six fitted in Sports Hall 2, two are located over the courts and four over the seating area. Natural ventilation rates in both halls are precisely controlled by temperature and CO2 sensors covering six zones, which monitor airflow through the WINDCATCHER systems. At night they can be programmed to open fully, providing a downwash of cool air to purge the halls, leaving the interior feeling fresh and clean for activities the following morning.

Summing up, Paul Vorster says Van Zyl & De Villiers helped pioneer the application of Monodraught natural ventilation systems approximately 5 years ago to comply with Sport England’s guidelines for air velocities in badminton sports halls; and to help reduce energy costs and minimise carbon footprint. He says this latest project demonstrates the continuing ability of WINDCATCHERS to create an ideal, naturally ventilated environment to suit both players and spectators.

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