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BSkyB Building, Middlesex

BSkyB have recently finished building and moving to their new £233m Harlequin 1 television production centre in Osterley, Middlesex. Possibly the most impressive feature of this building and what sets it apart from others in the world are its innovative systems to combat overheating and noise ingress to the studios.

natural ventilation diagram

Conventional television studios create an air conditioned, isolated room within the internal space to avoid noise break-out from cooling equipment, as studios must be silent for live broadcasting. By contrast the new BSkyB building utilises a silent natural ventilation system with terminations provided by Colt.

In order to achieve this, air enters the building through controllable vents positioned at street level and travels into an acoustically lined one metre high compartment under the studio. The air then enters the studio through outlets in the floor and walls. As the air in the studio heats up it rises, and this has the effect of pulling in cool air from outside. The exhaust air enters a compartment above the ceiling from where it then travels up the chimney and out of the building.

During the course of the design it transpired that there was a high risk of condensation in the chimneys. Colt provided new calculations to show that if alternative ACE louvred ventilators were installed as dampers, their exceptional thermal performance and low air leakage would eliminate this risk.

BSkyB has also installed a scheme of natural ventilation in the offices and data centre. Colt provided acoustic baffles and acoustic louvre, as well as Coltlite ventilators for natural and smoke ventilation to the office atrium, and screening louvre to various areas.

All this natural ventilation has helped the building’s design to exceed the minimum requirements of Part L2A, 2006, by 67%. The facility uses a third less energy than a comparable facility and forms part of BSkyB’s commitment to reduce its CO2 emissions by 25% by 2020.

Project details
  • Location: Osterley
  • Main Contractor: Lindner Schmidlin
  • Developer/Operator: Bovis
  • Consulting Engineer: Arup
Products used

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