Air-conditioning is in tune with needs of music academy

Published:  05 December, 2004

Music academy
The hugely varying requirements of air conditioning this music academy in a Grade 2 listed warehouse have been met using a Toshiba SMi VRF air-conditioning system.

A host of system-design and installation challenges have been overcome by a combination of Toshiba’s SMi VRF technology and the skills of long-standing accredited installation Consort Group of Newbury.

The Academy of Contemporary Music in Guildford has become one of Europe’s leading schools for rock and pop musicians — providing degree courses, vocational training and career guidance. The air-conditioning system has to respond to enormous and widely varying cooling demands.

The rooms and services in the Grade 2 listed warehouse are all suspended within the building structure; nothing can be attached directly to the building fabric.

In addition, a large Weatherspoon’s pub occupies the ground floor. As no noise must pass into the structure or out of the building, the insulation of the rooms is unusually effective and prevents heat loss too. In circulation areas, heat escapes directly through the roof structure.

Within the academy, the large number of different-sized rooms with changing occupancy levels are full of different quantities of heat-generating electronic equipment.

Locations for indoor units were very limited. With all the electronic equipment, the risk of condensate leaks had to be avoided, so gravity drainage rather than pumping was essential. Drilling through 250 mm of mixed-grade thermal insulation required specialised equipment.

An existing ducted refrigeration-based heating and fresh-air ventilation system dating from the building’s original conversion was worth integrating into the new system.

At the client’s request, all services were to be left exposed. The pipework installation had to look as high tech as the rest of the building, and galvanised conduit and trunking is used throughout. Several curved walls did not help!

Consort devised an ingenious and complex clamp system to suspend the services from the building structure. Three Toshiba SMi systems provide very flexible cooling and heating for circulation spaces, a commercial recording studio, a demonstration theatre, demonstration studio, several large technology packed sponsored teaching suites such as the Fender room the Roland drum room and the Shure vocal room. There are many practice rooms where the temperature soars in seconds.

The cooling system maintains 20°C ±2 K, but the occupants often pull the temperature down to 18°C because of the high outputs of amplifiers in small spaces. A range of indoor units is used, including cassettes, high walls and ceiling suspended.

Each room has its own simple remote controller. However, so varied is the pattern of room usage that overall control is directed by the building manager via Toshiba’s Windows control package to enable huge fluctuations in numbers, queues in the reception area etc. to be responded to instantly. Back-up elements can also be called on. In winter, heating is called for on occasions from the heat-pump system and retained in circulation areas by destratification.

As well as the SMi system, two of the latest Toshiba twin split-air-conditioning system with ceiling-suspended indoor units serve the open-plan administration area on the floor above.



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