Elta Fans co-operate in construction of group’s ‘outstanding’ head office

UK fan manufacturer Elta Fans has supplied ventilation equipment for the highly sustainable and award-winning headquarters of The Co-operative Group in Manchester. ‘One Angel Square’ has received several awards for its striking aesthetics and is the most sustainable large office space in Europe. The building has been designed to deliver a 50% reduction in energy consumption compared to The Co-operative’s current Manchester complex and an 80% reduction in carbon. This will lead to a reduction in operating costs of up to 30%.


Several years ago The Co-operative Group originally announced its plans to move from its existing headquarters at various sites around Miller Street and Corporation Street in Manchester to a highly sustainable office building.  Planning permission was granted in 2010, and construction work began soon afterwards.  Given the prime focus on sustainability, an important consideration in the specification of the fans was compliance with the regulations introduced by the Energy Related Products (ErP) Directive.  With this directive, the European Union laid the groundwork for the reduction of energy throughout the entire supply chain of electrical goods.  Its objective was to help fulfil the EU’s obligation under the Kyoto Protocol to increase the EU’s renewable energy sources to 20% by 2020 and increasing energy efficiency by 20%.  The Directive, which covers all the principal fan types between 125W and 500kW input, sets out minimum efficiency levels for fans.  Those fans that do not comply with the efficiency guidelines will ultimately not be marketable within Europe.

Low noise performance was also seen to be an essential requirement in selecting fans for the ground breaking new head office, with Elta Fans chosen to supply quiet running units.  The list of equipment provided included: 15 Revolution SLC axial fans; 4 ATEX fans; 4 Qube HT, the high temperature, multi discharge, double skinned, centrifugal fans; 1 Multiflow  SMC fan and 2 Biflow conical bifurcated fans.

Elta Fans’ Revolution SLC is a robust range of ErP compliant long cased axial fans, featuring high efficiency, adjustable pitch aerofoil section bladed impellers. The extensive range comprises ten standard sizes from 355mm to 1000mm, offering good performance combined with strength, durability and corrosion resistance.

The casing of the long lasting and robust, ATEX all metal fan, is constructed from a single sheet of steel, with motors and axial impellers mounted within the length of the unit casing.  All parts are heavy gauge mild steel sheet, roll formed and welded, then hot dipped galvanised to BS 729 after fabrication.  Where aluminium blades are selected, an anti-spark track is fitted around the impeller track.  Alternative impellers of stainless steel or anti-static polypropylene are also available.


Elta Fans’ QUBe fan is a multi-discharge double skinned centrifugal unit.  It is supplied for straight through airflow with the outlet panel positioned directly opposite the inlet panel. The outlet panel can be easily changed on-site with the top or bottom panels to provide 90° airflow if required.  The inlet and outlet panels incorporate circular spigots with integral U-shaped ozone and UV stable EPDM rubber seals to prevent duct leakage.

As the units were all to be installed in the plant room at the top of the building all fans were supplied with IP66 inverters to allow the units to be connected to the building’s management system (BMS). The IP Code (Ingress Protection rating) classifies the degree of protection provided against the intrusion of dust, solid objects and liquids into mechanical casings with electrical enclosures.

Along with its operational mission statement, The Co-operative Group has also made its social and sustainability goals clear.  Creating zero carbon emissions yet producing surplus energy, its landmark, ‘energy-plus’ head office is the focal point of the NOMA development in the north of Manchester city centre, a 20 acre regeneration scheme, costing an estimated £800 million. The ten year project is about creating a new neighbourhood to meet the needs of local businesses and community.  In December 2012, the building achieved the highest ever recorded BREEAM score of 95.32%, a rating classed as ‘Outstanding’, making it one of the most sustainable large buildings in the world and surpassing its own pan-European sustainability targets.

Heating and ventilation can contribute significantly to a building’s environmental footprint and operating costs so attention has been paid to this in the design.  The diagonal ‘slice’ of ‘One Angel Square’ creates an open atrium nine floors high, topped by a glass roof facing south to collect heat from the sun, maximising both daylight and passive solar gain. The exterior has a double skin façade with a cavity between its inner windows and the outer glass structure. This is for both sustainability taking advantage of the thermal insulating properties within the design and aesthetically co-ordinated to support additional energy savings, whilst emphasising the curve of the three corners of the building. The double skin also provides a walkway between the inner and exterior panels for maintenance and solar shading.

The Co-operative Group is the UK’s largest mutual business, owned not by private shareholders but by over seven million consumers.  It is the UK’s fifth biggest food retailer and a major financial services provider. Among its other businesses are the number one funeral services provider, the third largest pharmacy chain and one of Britain’s largest farming operations. As well as having clear financial and operational objectives, the Group has also set out its social and sustainability goals in its groundbreaking Ethical Plan, which specifies over 50 commitments in these areas. The Group operates 4,800 retail trading outlets, employs more than 100,000 people and has an annual turnover of more than £13bn.

The Co-operative Group head office accommodates 3,500 staff.  Completion of the NOMA development around One Angel Square is expected by 2023.

Further information on The Co-operative Group is available at: www.co-operative.coop

Further information on Elta Fans is available at: www.eltafans.com / www.eltaselect.com


Schöck Isokorb proves ideal for Velux Headquarters

The industrial landscape leading out through the north eastern outskirts of Vienna is, perhaps surprisingly, a seemingly endless accumulation of dull unimaginative commercial buildings.   Endless that is until you reach Wolkersdorf, some twelve miles away, where attention is drawn immediately to the Austrian Headquarters of Velux, the major Danish window and skylight company.    Velux has been on this site for some 30 years and inevitably the original building had seen a number of modifications over that period.   So the decision was taken to develop a completely new administrative facility, much more in keeping with the contemporary style of the company.

VeluxHuger4 - HR
© Stefan Huger

Designed by architect Werner Zita, it is a building in stark contrast to what has gone before and draws on the local ambition to introduce more modern architectural styles to this otherwise traditional wine district area of Lower Austria.   The unusual sloping roofs stand out immediately, and as Zita explains: “The linear layout of the building does not conform to any conventional right angles and is an attempt to reflect the undulating local landscape”.

VeluxHuger2 - HR
© Stefan Huger

 Built on two levels, with 1750m2 of usable area, the new headquarters incorporates offices, showrooms and training rooms, with a car park underneath the structure.   Critical to the design of the building is the Velux core concept of bringing fresh air and daylight into living and working spaces; so natural light floods into the building at every opportunity, helping to create a hospitable and friendly environment.

Preventing thermal bridging was a challenge

The façade and roof are made from a titanium zinc outer shell and the varying textures are achieved through the use of longitudinal sectioning.  An angled standing seam technique is used in the steep roof areas, with a horizontal open slat facade in the entrance areas and on vertical surfaces.    Balconies are widely incorporated around the perimeter of the new Velux building and the prevention of thermal bridging was an early design consideration. It is critical because the resultant heat and energy loss are only two of the consequences if thermal bridging should occur.  Condensation and mould growth can develop as well, which may lead to potential health and respiratory problems for the occupants.  So with balconies around the building connected to the edge of the internal reinforced concrete slab, preventing the possibility of thermal bridging at these connectivity points is crucial.

As a result, the designers of the Velux building incorporated one of the most effective countermeasures on the market, the Isokorb structural thermal break unit from Schöck.   It is a range that allows connections to be made between concrete-to-concrete, concrete-to-steel and steel-to-steel.  The many different unit types available, combined with their ability to enable the transmission of shear, bending moment, tension and compression forces, also means that the options available effectively run into thousands when the different combinations are taken into account.

VeluxHluma1 - HR
© Manfred Hluma
VeluxHluma2 - HR
© Manfred Hluma

For this particular application the Isokorb type KS from Schöck was the ideal solution. It is a concrete-to-steel connectivity module that sits between the outer and inner structural connection points and blocks the outflow of heat through the use of high quality polystyrene insulation foam. This polystyrene core sits inside a compression module that has stainless steel bars passing through it – and these in turn take the tension and shear forces between the building frame and the balconies.  The Isokorb thereby enables a thermally insulated, load bearing connection to be made between reinforced concrete and steel construction components, and at the same time provides a clean and unobtrusive connection detail.

A 20 page ‘Specifiers Handbook‘ is available which provides an overview and introduction to the Schöck Isokorb, and there is a comprehensive 236 page ‘Technical Guide’ which displays in detail the complete range of thermal break applications for all construction types.

For your free copy of the Schöck Specifiers Guide and / or the Technical Guide contact the company on 01865 290 890 or visit www.schoeck.co.uk

Sylglas Metalfix Protects Sea Front Railings

Hartlepool Borough Council were recently experiencing problems with corrosion of the sea front railings. Extending for approximately half a mile the railings were exhibiting signs of rusting within a few months of applying a coating system.

Railings at Hartlepool. Four nearest camera showing corrosion and treatment stages with Syglas Metalfix.

The Council called in Universal Coatings & Services Ltd of Port Clarence, Middlesbrough, who could see that the cause was due to sea water entering the steel work at the joints, where corrosion  took place with unsightly rust stains running down the upright bars.

To overcome this problem Universal Coatings & Services approached Winn & Coales (Denso) Ltd for advice. After removing any loose coating and preparing the surface by hand, Universal Coatings applied Winn & Coales’ Sylglas Metalfix to seal  the joint areas prior to re-applying a protective coating.

Sylglas Metalfix is a non-rusting steel-reinforced two part epoxy putty that mixes to provide fast permanent repairs. For this application Metalfix was supplied in a special industrial pack size to provide the cost effective solution to this problem.


An education in flooring

TARKETT LTD has used its century of experience manufacturing Linoleum floors to produce a new range of colourful flooring ideal for use in the education sector.

The Linoleum xf2 range introduces 47 new colours to Tarkett’s education flooring portfolio that already includes LVT, sports flooring, safety, homogeneous and heterogeneous vinyl sheet and tile products.


Tarkett hopes the broad range of colours and options available will encourage installers, architects and designers to be more creative when selecting flooring for educational buildings.

With colour ranges varying from natural stone greys through to grass greens, raspberry reds and bright, bold yellows and blues – ideal for creating floors with impact.

Tarkett Marketing Manager Steve Urwin said: “As one of the few global manufacturers of genuine linoleum we’re passionate about this product.

“The variety of colours available is enormous and I’m looking forward to seeing some of the interesting and creative designs that are produced as a result.

“It’s also incredibly sustainable. We’ve considered its environmental impact from production through to cleaning.”

During manufacture 95% of the product scraps and all water needed for production are recycled.

Tarkett then applies its xf2 surface treatment to the flooring making it easier to clean for the end user.

This means Linoleum xf2 requires less maintenance and reduces the use of harmful cleaning products – further improving the environmental impact of the flooring.

Tarkett’s Linoleum xf2 portfolio totals 112 colours including a range of Grande Classics – colours that are guaranteed to be in production through to 2033.

Steve said: “Being able to guarantee production of certain floors through to 2033 provides designers and buyers with piece of mind whatever happens.

“This longevity is fairly unique in the flooring industry and is one of the many key benefits of selecting a Tarkett floor for an educational environment.”

Beyond linoleum Tarkett has developed an extensive range of flooring suitable for an educational environment.

Wood and vinyl provide solutions for a variety of applications in every area to suit the design and budget.

The company also has a range of safety flooring options helping prevent trips and slips and its Floorcraft design service can produce bespoke flooring designs to bring the floor to life.

Due to the large selection of colours available, Tarkett has developed an intuitive digital visualiser to help designers and clients with the colour selection process.

It allows designs short on time to see what the flooring will look like when laid in a specified environment. It also helps improve aesthetics and provides confidence when choosing a floor.   For further information on Linoleum xf2 please visit www.tarkett.co.uk

For more information about Tarkett’s educational flooring portfolio email: uksales@tarkett.com or call: 01622 854 040


Brett Landscaping has used its creative expertise to produce an aesthetically-pleasing, cost-effective paving design that provides a cohesive identity for a refurbished healthcare and education complex in Surbiton.Surbiton Health Centre

The new development, which comprises Surbiton Health Centre and Lime Tree Primary School, is situated on the grounds of an old hospital.  Brett was contacted by the site contractors, Farncombe Construction, to enhance the revamped facilities in a way that took into account the site’s sustainable needs and made best use of the available site space.

After initial investigations, Brett Landscaping recommended a combination of Alpha Flow and Omega Flow permeable paving, complemented with decorative kerbs and Yorktone flag paving.  Brett also manufactured a bespoke flat block kerb – a product that is not part of the company’s standard range – to deliver the optimum solution for the project’s requirements.

“Sometimes, it is obvious that the best solution for an installation cannot be found on the shelf, and our extensive design experience enables us to have the ability to provide bespoke paving solutions that are unique to customers’ needs,” explains Andrew Gill, marketing manager at Brett.

“We manufactured a flat-block specifically for this scheme as it was a functional product that was necessary for the scheme, as well as allowing the contractor to value engineer and reduce costs.”

The modern design of the Brett Alpha Flow permeable paving, which has tumbled edges to provide a durable, aesthetically pleasing solution, together with Omega Flow’s classic rectangular block profile, enabled Farncombe Construction to meet the Surface Water Management requirements of the installation without compromising on the aesthetic appearance of the block paving.

“After meeting with the contractors on numerous occasions to determine the best paving combination within their budget constraints, we felt that the chosen permeable paving and the decorative kerbs would be best for the site’s needs in terms of creating an effective water management system and an aesthetic appearance to attract visitors,” Andrew adds.

To meet the needs of the contractor, the hard landscaping experts also provided suggestions about redesigning the kerb line and paved areas to make better use of the space, as well as proposing amendments to the original design spec to achieve the best combination of products.

Brett Landscaping is delighted to have brought its design flair to the new project, confirming that while paving is a functional necessity, there is a place for aesthetic considerations, too.

“Inspiring patients and pupils is not just about what goes on indoors – good design of outdoor spaces is recognised as helping in the healing process, as well as stimulating creativity at school,” concludes Andrew Gill.

To learn more about permeable paving from Brett Landscaping, check out PermCalc , the free-to-use software  used by planners and architects to create permeable paving solutions. This works by assessing projects based on calculations of variables such as rainfall, traffic volumes and land composition to determine the appropriate sub-base composition. To find out more about Brett’s PermCalc software, visit http://www.permcalc.co.uk/.


  • Brett (ontrackgroundworkservices.wordpress.com)

Mitsubishi Electric looks to the clouds to offer advanced control

Mitsubishi Electric has launched an innovative Wi-Fi interface which will deliver ‘cloud-based’ control systems to both installers and end-users of air conditioning, with the real possibility of being able to monitor and control air conditioning units remotely via the Internet.

The company has reacted to the potential that the latest developments in cloud-based computing offers, which enables everyone from individual users to companies with vast, nationwide estates to monitor system use, spot potential faults and change schedules, loads and temperature settings.


The development of a Wi-Fi interface for its air conditioning and heat pump products has been coupled with a new dedicated service called MELCloud, to offer advanced energy-saving features and controls with easy apps for either computer, tablet or mobile device, which will allow for basic control and monitoring.

“We’ve just launched the air conditioning Wi-Fi interface for our split systems and will be adding others for our air-to-water heat pumps and VRF systems,” explains Sebastien Desmottes, air conditioning Product Marketing Manager.

“The interface simply need to be installed near to the air conditioner or heat pump and builds a wireless connection between the unit and the building’s Internet connection.”

The Wi-Fi interfaces use cloud technology to deliver advanced connectivity and control across the Internet, allowing building operators to remotely monitor and control their air conditioning and home owners to remotely monitor and control their heating, helping to reduce both running costs and emissions.

“We have tested the Wi-Fi interface in several sites across Europe since last summer and this has led to the development of the MELCloud system which provides users with effortless control of their devices wherever they are,” adds Desmottes.

MELCloud will run on any PC or Tablet and supports the latest ranges of Smartphones from Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, Blackberry and many more, giving easy remote access and control. The application will automatically detect screen size and resize accordingly, supporting the latest ranges of Tablets via dedicated apps available from the various App stores. MELCloud is designed to provide the most extensive user and device coverage in the market and works with the majority of Internet browsers from Microsoft, Google, Apple and others.

Providing user control, weekly timer, holiday and frost protection, as well as error logging, reporting, local live weather and support Information, this functionality is all available via a mobile device or PC from anywhere in the world, as long as the user has internet access on their mobile device or PC, and at the location where the air conditioning system is installed.

The service is available throughout Europe, and the application has been designed with the majority of European languages supported at release, with further European languages support planned in the future. Further information on the new Wi-Fi interface is available by emailing air.conditioning@meuk.mee.com


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Sustainable theatre saves water with Roca

Arcola Theatre in Hackney is one of the most respected arts venues in the UK, with a commitment to sustainability as well as creativity. Arcola’s aim is to be the first carbon neutral theatre in the world; it has a sustainability/education arm Green Arcola and a sister company, Arcola Energy, an energy technology incubator, both set up to deliver this ambition.

Roca 1

Over the last three years, Arcola, housed in a converted paint factory, has undergone a ‘green’ transformation, including the installation of a waste wood biomass boiler, natural ventilation system and an innovative LED lighting system, powered by solar photovoltaics. The building also boasts impressive water-saving credentials thanks to Roca’s innovative W+W (water closet and washbasin) product.

Funded by a £1 million grant from the Arts Council, plus additional support from donations and local volunteers, main renovation works took place in 2012, with Roca’s W+W installed last summer.

Slashing water usage by half Roca’s W+W utilises waste water from the basin to fill the cistern, saving up to 25% more water in a typical household compared with dual-flush systems. Arcola has been monitoring water usage since 2010 and, following W+W’s installation, the savings have been dramatic – spring 2013’s figures are 50% lower than the previous year.

Making W+W work even harder is the Singles-Pro basin mixer, which features Roca’s innovative Cold Start system, designed to help save both water and energy. The progressive cartridge means the tap turns on with cold water first, drawing on the hot supply only as and when it’s required.

Ruth Mulandi, Arcola’s Commercial Manager, commented: “When we researched water-efficient toilets, Roca’s offering just made good sense. We loved the design of their products and now they’re in situ, visitors find them so intuitive to use.”

In addition to saving water, W+W saves space, with the wash basin housed on top of the cistern. It’s modern, L shaped design, fits snugly into the restricted area of Arcola’s toilet cubicle.

Roca 2

Education in the toilet! Part of Arcola’s remit is to inspire the community to live sustainably. Education is key and Roca’s W+W surprisingly assists in this element too. At a recent ‘Green Sunday’ event, a toilet cubicle, complete with the Roca W+W, played host to a performance of ‘Flush’, from Cape Theatre; an innovative piece set in the women’s loos that helps explain the very serious problem of water wastage.

Arcola Theatre stands as an example of how an arts venue can do more than just entertain, promoting a greener way to live to its audiences and the wider community. Roca’s part in this project demonstrates the company’s own remit to make sure our most relied upon conveniences are innovative, functional and above all, sustainable.


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