Wind power in justice centre

CONSTRUCTION specialists from South Yorkshire have joined forces to create an environmental 'first' for Europe.

Tuesday, 25th September 2007, 1:30 pm
Updated Wednesday, 26th September 2007, 2:03 pm

The Sheffield office of Mott MacDonald and Rotherham-based Horbury Building Systems have harnessed wind power and solar energy to minimise the electricity needed to ventilate, cool and illuminate Manchester’s new 113 Civil Justice Centre.

Mott MacDonald used revolutionary software to design the system which Horbury then built.

The Centre is built on a site where the prevailing wind would blow towards one corner of the building and get trapped, explains Mott MacDonald’s Sheffield-based environmental and sustainable buildings expert Eddie Murphy.

Sign up to our Business newsletter

Sign up to our Business newsletter

Wind scoops funnel the wind into ducts which direct the fresh air into the courts, which finds its way out of the other side of the building. If the wind speed falls too low for natural ventilation, an intelligent building management system switches on a back-up forced ventilation system.

“The combination of wind and sun drives air through the building, but we had to bring to bear a lot of computer technology to create the design,” says Mr Murphy.

Horbury’s job was to turn the Mott MacDonald designs into reality, fabricating air ducts which had to be air tight, fire rated and load bearing on the site itself. Business development manager David Priestley said: “We had to give particular emphasis to sustainability and environmental impact throughout our work at the Manchester Civil Justice Centre.

“Meeting the requirements for natural daylight and ventilation had a huge impact on Horbury Building System’s other operations, including partitions, ceilings and associated components, all of which had to be fitted to accommodate and work with the seven metre wide light air duct.

“Our use of a night-shift team was critical to the success of this contract as they were dedicated entirely to loading out each work area for the productive teams arriving in the morning. At the peak of the project, we had more than 150 workers supervised by a management team of 12 on the site.”

Horbury used more than 250,000 metres of plasterboard and 500,000 metres of metal sections to complete its s 14 million contract.

The 16 storey building has 47 court rooms, as well as tribunal and hearing rooms and offices.

Its pioneering ‘light air system’ works by using the same ducts that funnel the wind to collect sunlight which is bounced off the highly reflective inner surfaces of ducts and is then diffused through glass panels.