Since the original Frewen Library in Portsmouth, home of the University's Library, was constructed in the 1970's, student numbers have increased from 7,000 to more than 18,000. Accordingly a new three-storey extension has been built, designed by Architects Penoyre & Prasad, to provide a welcoming environment for teaching and study, as well as to incorporate systems that would reduce energy usage and environmental impact. To this end, Colt provided a combination of natural ventilation and solar shading.
This building has been designed to achieve a "very good" BREEAM rating. It relies upon orientation, façade treatment and extensive rooflighting to maximise daylighting whilst minimising solar heat gain and glare. Colt provided a series of oval shaped Solarfin solar shading systems formed into triangular modules on the saw tooth southern façade adjacent to windows.
Electronically controllable Coltlite natural ventilation dampers situated at low level behind opening timber panels on the façade are combined with Coltlite natural ventilators at high level to provide background ventilation and secure night time cooling. These dampers and ventilators circulate air from the quiet reading areas towards the atrium at high level. Some mechanical assistance in the form of low-pressure fans has been required in order to achieve the desired comfort and energy efficiency levels. The high level ventilators also provide exhaust of smoke in the case of a fire.