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McLaren Community Leisure Centre - Gaia Architects

Dynamic Insulation

Gaia Research have completed a review of dynamic insulation and a monitoring programme of the McLaren Community Leisure Centre which was opened in 1998.

The community sports facility in Callander, Scotland incorporates dynamically insulated squash courts, bowling hall, sports hall and a 20m swimming pool. Each has air introduced from pressurised ceiling voids through a dynamic insulation layer.

It is the first major building in the UK to use dynamic insulation, and the first in the world to use the technique in a swimming pool environment.

Sponsors

Sportscotland, who have a commitment to ensuring that encouraging and supporting healthy activities is underpinned through the procurement of cost manageable ‘healthy buildings for healthy pursuits’, supported the design development of dynamic insulation at Callander.

SportScotland with Sport England, Gaia Architects and the Department of the Environment, Transport & the Regions (DETR) Construction Directorate, through its ‘Partners in Innovation’ Scheme, subsequently supported the monitoring project.



Dynamic Insulation

Introduction
Context
Research
Findings
Publications

The project fits within a range of technical innovation projects undertaken by Gaia Research, Gaia Architects and Gaia Planning in pursuit of sustainable development.

Introduction
Dynamic insulation is an approach to ventilating buildings which emerged as a consequence of an interest in developing the fabric of buildings rather than mechanical systems.

Air is drawn into a building through its insulation.Heat usually lost by conduction to outside is exchanged with air drawn through the insulation, which acts as a counter-flow heat exchanger. The U-value of the insulation varies according to the air flow rate through it. At certain air velocities/ insulation thickness the U-value can effectively be reduced to zero. It is being used successfully in Scandinavia, largely but not exclusively, on a domestic scale and the technique is developing into hybrid forms in a number of building types.

Dynamic insulation relies on controlled constant air flow through a membrane due to a pressure difference across it. The pressure differential can be induced through natural or mechanical means. Air is typically exhausted through a fan assisted vertical flue although there are examples of the pressure differential being achieved by exploiting and enhancing the stack effect.

Context
It is vitally important to maintain capital and running costs of buildings at levels which minimise dependency on financial, human or environmental resources. However, it is equally important that in providing efficient solutions indoor air quality does not suffer as a result. Hence this approach, which, as well as controlling ventilation in buildings to reduce energy intensive air change losses, also potentially offers the opportunity to reduce reliance on mechanical systems and reduce air quality problems associated with input ventilation plant and ductwork.

Research
The research comprised a monitoring study of the dynamic insulation. The aim was to investigate the performance of dynamic insulation in dry-side and wet-side environments in order to appraise and optimise the performance of the McLaren building.

The building was monitored from September 1998 to March 2000 using on-site surveys and remote monitoring of the installed hardware.

Findings
A full report has been produced which assesses the environmental performance of the dynamic installation and other system elements during this period.

The report has been summarised in the form of a guidance note which covers the main points of interest. It includes the theory of dynamic insulation, information on its practical application from its origins to current designs, the scope of the monitoring, principal conclusions and a bibliography of useful reading material.

Publications
For more information on dynamic insulation and the McLaren Leisure centre, please consult the following available from Gaia Research. Please send cheque with order.

  • Dynamic Insulation Final Report June 2000 - £80.00

  • Dynamic Insulation in Practice Proceedings of a seminar held at McLaren Community Leisure Centre, Callander, November 1998 - £20.00

  • Dynamic Insulation, Past, Present and Future - proceedings of a seminar in £20.00 Out of Print 01/01/01

  • Dynamic Insulation in Practice Guidance Note - £20.00

  • Gaia Architects Pore Ventilation: Swimming Pools, Research Report No.47, SSC, 1996. £10.00

  • Liddell H.L., Roalkvam D., and Nettli H., Pore Ventilation: Sports Halls Research Report No.43, SSC, 1995. £10.00

  • Also

    • Bordass W.T., SportsCallender Building Service Journal August 2000

    • Halliday S.P., Dynamic Insulation in Practice CIBSE 2000 may be dowloaded here as PDF document.

    • McKenzie I, Roalkvam D & Liddell HL., Pore Ventilation, CIBSE National Technical Conference, 1996

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