REHAU’s TABS system has been used to provide energy efficiency and low cost heating and cooling at the University of Northampton’s new £330m Waterside Campus development.
The project is set to achieve a BREEAM Excellent rating upon completion in 2018.
REHAU and its approved contractor partner AMROC were involved early on in the design process for Waterside’s Campus, recommending the Thermally Activated Building Structure (TABS) system.
The TABS cooling and heating system uses the large thermal mass of concrete in a building’s structure to adjust the environment inside the building throughout the day. It does this by running heated or chilled water through a network of pipes embedded within the concrete slabs, and can be used in virtually any concrete structure.
Paul Stroud, from AMROC, said: “With the University keen to create a low carbon campus and incorporate cutting edge technology, TABS was the ideal choice for the teaching block in the Waterside development. The installation and running costs for TABS are comparatively low and it offers a more comfortable, even heating and cooling of the teaching spaces with no draughts, like traditional air conditioning.”
Around 40,000m of 20mm RAUTHERM polymer piping was used to install the TABS system. The PE-Xa pipework was installed inside steel grids in the floors of the building and tested by the AMROC engineers, before being covered with concrete to embed the pipes in situ.
The floors of the five-storey teaching building were so big that the pipework needed to be laid in eight or more zones, with concrete poured four times per floor to cover the required surface area.
Paul continued: “I think the most challenging part of the job for us was probably being involved so early in the project. As there was no internal walls constructed we had to rely heavily on datum points and grid lines to ensure not only that the pipework was installed in the correct zones back to the manifold, but also to ensure we stayed out of any exclusion zones avoiding potential damage to our pipework later on during the development and fit out.”
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