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  • Natural ventilation systems


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SE CONTROLS - Hackney Academy A Smoke Ventilation & Natural Ventilation Solution

Hackney’s ‘City Academy’ is a striking building using bold colours and an extensive facade of aluminium and glass in an acoustic twin facade design. Catering for 900 pupils of various faiths the academy specialises in business and financial services with sponsors KPMG and The City of London Corporation.

In order to keep running costs of the building to a minimum and to ensure safety in the event of fire, a combined natural ventilation and smoke control systems was designed and installed. SE Controls were specified on the project and supplied equipment to various sub-contractors which included the envelope glazing and roof system sub-contractors. Final installation and commissioning was undertaken by SE Controls’ own engineers.

Approximately 1054 actuators were supplied and fitted in various combinations to 538 vents. Vent configuration included both ‘top hung open out’ and ‘bottom hung open in’ casement windows. Various methods of actuation were specified depending on the location and ventilation requirement within each space.

Classroom ventilation consists of linked tandem pairs of actuators fitted to the window system which are operated via a single switch when ventilation is required. In circulation and communal spaces actuators are wired back to a total of 10 panels controlling 17 zones for the entire building. The 1054 actuators are grouped into 110 separate groups, either switch or BMS operated.

All window actuators were fitted with pivot brackets ensuring that the window could still attain some lateral movement which reduces the strain on the actuator chain. Adopting this method of attaching the actuators to the windows ensures that the actuators themselves attain the longest possible life without failure.

Where there are areas of possible entrapment, TGCO 24 20 ED and TGCO 24 30 ED programmable chain actuators have been implemented within the windows and these have been reduced in both closing force and speed in order to protect against injury.

To provide smoke free exit routes in case of fire, the circulation and communal spaces control panels work together with a control panel linked into the fire alarm system. This independent and battery backed up device will open all the windows in these spaces should a fire alarm and power supply failure occur. For natural ventilation the 10 control panels are linked into the Building Management System (BMS) to offer comfort ventilation. When the fire alarm is reset, smoke vents will return to their previous positions and will be under control of the BMS again.

At third floor ceiling level there are 101 louvers at the top of the external glazing system which allows outside air to enter attenuated ducts, these are sealed with hatches to the inside. Hatch covers are operated by actuators per classroom space which are controlled by a single switch by the occupants. To attain ‘buoyancy ventilation exhaust’ for air entering by the high level louvre ventilators, the third floor roof accommodates 18 roof lights which are actuated locally to ensure a throughput of natural ventilation.

Hackney Academy is a typical example of how easily smoke and natural ventilation systems can work together to prove both comfort and safety in case of a fire. SE Controls have recently produced a new piece of literature titled ‘Natural Ventilation in Education Buildings’, which guides the specifier through the current legislation and the systems that can be specified.

The windows and actuators on the project were installed by Parry Bowen Limited who worked closely with SE Controls to complete the project.

The new literature is available as a download from SE Controls website at, to discuss a requirement with SE Controls, or request a copy of the printed literature, please email below:

E-mail SE Controls

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