REHAU’s TABS is top of the class for new uni campus

  • 19 Sep 2019

REHAU’s innovative TABS system has been utilised at the University of Northampton’s new £330m Waterside Campus development, providing energy efficiency and low cost heating and cooling.

Construction work started in 2016 on the aspirational Waterside Campus, which will transform a 58-acre brownfield site along the River Nene into a hub for teaching and student accommodation, as well as leisure and retail facilities for the University and wider community.

The whole project is set to achieve a BREEAM Excellent rating upon completion in 2018, so every aspect of the design plans has been carefully considered to ensure it adheres to the principles of sustainable design.

REHAU and its approved contractor partner AMROC recommended the Thermally Activated Building Structure (TABS) system, a versatile cooling and heating system which uses the large thermal mass of concrete in a building’s structure to adjust the environment inside the building throughout the day.

The system 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, commented on the project: “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. This all adds up to a more pleasant learning environment, particularly in busy lecture halls.”

The TABS system for the University of Northampton was installed using approximately 40,000m of 20mm RAUTHERM polymer piping. 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 8 or more zones, with concrete poured four times per floor to cover the required surface area.

The pipework was then connected using REHAU’s EVERLOC™ compression sleeve joints. These joints rely on the memory effect of the pipe to help seal it directly to the compression sleeve, giving a permanent seal without O-rings. When embedded in concrete, it’s imperative that the joints don’t leak; to date over 850 million REHAU EVERLOC™ joints have been installed and no leaks have been reported.

The University of Northampton project was the first time AMROC had installed TABS and they were impressed by how straightforward the installation was. The company had previously used REHAU’s pipes and EVERLOC joints for large-scale underfloor heating jobs, and they regularly run REHAU training courses to ensure their team are confident with the products and ready to hit the ground running when needed.

Tony Harbour, Senior Commercial Manager and head at The REHAU Hub, said: “We are really pleased that University of Northampton chose TABS for its Waterside Campus development. TABS uses low flow temperatures and requires little maintenance, so it’s very much fit and forget for the University FM team unlike most heating and cooling alternatives.”

Click here to view and download REHAU’s latest TABS brochure.


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