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Malvern Hills Science Park, Worcestershire

Malvern Hills Science Park, located in picturesque rural Worcestershire, is the unlikely home to Qinetiq, a leading international defence and security technology company and supplier of defence research to the UK Government.

As a reflection of the park's commitment to cutting-edge technology and to accommodate growing interest in its facilities, a groundbreaking sustainable energy building, Phase 3, was completed in June 2007. Supported by funding from Advantage West Midlands, the Regional Development Agency, and the European Regional Development Fund, Phase 3 is a benchmark for low carbon development in the West Midlands. It won the 2007 Excellence in Property Design Award, including contribution to environmental sustainability and innovation in design, from the UK Science Park Association.

The building has a heating and cooling system based on ground source heat pump technology, which eliminates the need for a boiler and greatly reduces the overall carbon impact. To transport air through the building, hollow core concrete slabs are used instead of traditional steel ducts. The slabs work as heat exchangers between the supply air and the rooms, using the thermal storage capacity of the building's structural mass to regulate internal temperatures. The floor/ceiling slabs convey fresh air into the building and serve as an energy store, in addition to being part of the structure.

Externally, the building's envelope has a homogenous skin, sealed and insulated with an aluminium rainscreen facade. An array of Colt exterior sun louvres are mounted as brise soleil, shading the south elevation during the heat of the day, while allowing full outward views.

In addition to the brise soleil, Colt designed and installed a sun-tracking louvre system adjacent to the bistro. This creates both visual impact and an energy efficient way to provide solar shading, harnessing the power of the sun to keep the building cool.

Six enormous vertical fins, each measuring 2.5m wide x 10.5m high, rotate slowly through the day to track the movement of the sun. Each blade consists of an upper section made of Shadotex louvre comprising. Ferrari fabric, stretched over an aluminium support frame, which absorbs and repels up to 97% of the heat of the sun's rays, thereby reducing cooling loads. The lower section is made of Shadometal perforated metal louvres.

Given their enormous size, the fins have been specifically designed to withstand high wind pressures and thermal expansion. Shadotex is perfect for this type of application as it is extremely lightweight, allowing large spans to be constructed without the need for additional supporting framework.

Project details
  • Location: Worcestershire
  • Architect: Rubicon Design Ltd.
  • Main Contractor: Leadbitter Construction
Products used

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