Television studios aren’t obvious candidates for natural ventilation, with the vast amounts of heat generated by the lights, cameras and equipment, and the need for acoustic insulation. Yet that was the choice BSkyB made for their new production centre in West London, Harlequin 1, which boasts the world’s first naturally ventilated TV studios.
An innovative box-within-a-box design
To achieve the extremely low Noise Rating of 25 that was required, the studios are enclosed within a concrete box, which in turn is enclosed in a second concrete structure. Air enters the building through controllable vents positioned at street level and travels through an acoustically lined one-metre high compartment under the studio, between its floor and that of the surrounding box.
The vents are thermally broken Coltlite ventilators that provide a high degree of noise insulation and low air leakage. The compartment under the studio provides further noise attenuation before the air enters the studio through outlets in the floor and walls. As the air in the studio heats up it rises, pulling in cool air from outside. The exhaust air enters a compartment above the ceiling, then travels up one of 13 chimneys and out of the building.
To address the high risk of condensation in the 40-metre high chimneys, ACE louvre ventilators were installed as dampers. These insulated vents provide high insulation and low air leakage, as well as the high degree of sound insulation required by this project.
BSkyB and the Harlequin 1 centre is an important part of the company’s commitment to reduce its CO2 emissions by 25% by 2020. Natural ventilation, which was also used in the offices and data centre, has contributed to the building’s exceptional energy efficiency: the design exceeds the minimum requirements of Part L2A, 2006 by 67% and the centre uses a third less energy than a comparable facility.
More details of the project are available on the Colt website.
Paul Compton is Technical Director for Colt, experienced in smoke control, HVAC, solar shading and louvre systems.