Research have completed a review of dynamic insulation and a monitoring
programme of the McLaren Community Leisure Centre which was opened in 1998.
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
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.
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.
project fits within a range of technical innovation projects undertaken
by Gaia Research, Gaia Architects and Gaia Planning in pursuit of sustainable
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 was monitored from September 1998 to March 2000 using on-site surveys
and remote monitoring of the installed hardware.
A full report has been produced which assesses the environmental performance
of the dynamic installation and other system elements during this period.
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
For more information on dynamic insulation and the McLaren Leisure centre,
please consult the following available from Gaia Research. Please send cheque
Insulation Final Report June 2000 - £80.00
Insulation in Practice Proceedings of a seminar held at McLaren Community
Leisure Centre, Callander, November 1998 - £20.00
Insulation, Past, Present and Future - proceedings of a seminar in £20.00
Out of Print 01/01/01
Insulation in Practice Guidance Note - £20.00
Architects Pore Ventilation: Swimming Pools, Research Report No.47, SSC,
H.L., Roalkvam D., and Nettli H., Pore Ventilation: Sports Halls Research
Report No.43, SSC, 1995. £10.00