An all too common problem in our air tight buildings with district heating systems and great insulation is overheating, in the common parts. Ringley's Building Engineering Team reduced the overheating in the common parts at a block of 352 units in Docklands, E14 by 20%. Looking back to temperatures in September 2014 at 32.3 degrees Celsius, the same area now reads 25 degrees Celsius.
Following a structural assessment of the building fabric and components we undertook a couple of months of practical testing and monitoring to explore non-mechanical passive ventilation options to maximise the cooling effect without the need to install and maintain expensive mechanical extraction plant.
Passive ventilation means the opposite of mechanical ventilation/extraction. Overheating in common parts is a problem for developers who have to meet stringent air-tight testing end high insulation standards. In modern buildings heat gain and creep usually centres round the transfer of communal heating pipes perhaps from the plant room or from tower 1 to tower 2, for example. What Ringley achieved at Millharbour was to save the residents thousands by not installing a mechanical cooling system but to go back to basics and with a mixture of raised natural vents at the top of stair cores, active use of doors and windows as part of the cooling system albeit maintaining adequate fire protection by installing electrical closing mechanisms.
Here's what amazed residents said:
I am on level 5, it is great improvement and building does not smell any longer. I am really pleased that this is resolved as temperatures before were unbearable. Thank you very much for innovative approach. - T Taylor
Level 6 in block A is also much better. Indeed it feels like going into a normal corridor now. You don't notice the temperature as either too hot or too cold but in an acceptable range. - C Kimber
I'm on the last floor and have felt a significant difference; Its much cooler and the air is a lot fresher too. - Priyanca