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LEVOLUX Creates Cool Solution For Kent College

When leading architects KSS were tasked with finding a custom shading solution for North West Kent College’s Gravesend Campus, they looked no further than Levolux, the UK’s leading specialist. Redevelopment of the College’s Gravesend Campus included the addition of two new linked buildings. The College’s new state-of-the-art facilities are among the best equipped and most energy efficient in the country.

Block R is a new 3500m2 building, which incorporates the main reception, a refectory and administration offices. Block C is a new 6000m2 building, with mixed use teaching accommodation, a library and an information technology suite. The campus specialises in building services and related technologies and thanks to Levolux, students can now appreciate for themselves, the wide ranging benefits of a fully integrated Solar Shading system.

The custom solution provided by Levolux, comprises of fully automated, rotating perforated Energy Screens, fixed Aerofoil Fins, Matrix XL screening louvres, High Performance Ventilation Louvres and Ventilation Louvre panels with integral motorised dampers. These all combine to help create an energy efficient, naturally lit and comfortable learning environment, which has an impressive, modern aesthetic.

One of the most distinctive features of Block R is the row of 46 perforated aluminium Energy Screens, installed vertically across the south facing glazed facade. Each Energy Screen measures 750mm wide and stands 4500mm tall. Specially developed by Levolux, the motorised Energy Screens are linked to a stand-alone control system, which rotates them simultaneously, following the movement of the sun. The Energy Screens reflect and absorb the sun’s rays, helping to control natural daylight levels and significantly reducing solar heat gain within the building.

In addition, 40 fixed horizontal panels, each with seven extruded aluminium Aerofoil Fins, were installed above south facing windows on Block R and C. The 150mm wide Aerofoil Fins limit the exposure of windows to direct sunlight, which significantly reduces solar heat gain within classrooms.

Elsewhere on Block R, Levolux installed Matrix XL screening louvres, incorporating 85mm “Z ” shaped louvre blades, along with High Performance Ventilation Louvres, with 75mm “S” shaped louvre blades. The Matrix XL louvres were installed in two sections, with a combined length of 24.5 metres and a maximum height of 7.7 metres. These effectively screen unsightly plant equipment at roof level from view. The High Performance Ventilation Louvres extend from ground floor level in two sections, with a
combined length of 44.5 metres and a maximum height of 8 metres. These create a strong, weather-resistant, ventilated facade and include integral insect/bird mesh and double louvre doors.

Completing the package, Levolux installed 16 panels of Ventilation Louvres, with integral 50mm “S” shaped louvre blades and a 100mm wide motorised damper system. Each panel measures 1360mm wide by 910mm high and is pre-assembled off-site within a 200mm deep, extruded aluminium frame. The panels are designed to allow full control of ‘through the duct’ airflow, while creating an impressive external aesthetic which complements the overall scheme.

Nick Marshall, Associate Director at architects KSS, was pleased with the support offered by Levolux on the project, commenting; “The redevelopment of the Gravesend Campus of North West Kent College represented a significant challenge for all involved. Levolux made a very professional contribution and their innovative shading solution is an impressive and highly functional design feature.”

Opening its doors in September 2009, the redeveloped Gravesend Campus of North West Kent College is a fine example of modern, energy efficient architecture and continues to play a vital role in training and inspiring the workforce of the future.


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Hill Farm, Linton Hill, Maidstone, Kent ME 17 4AL
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