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Article Date: 13th February 2013

Levolux Swots up at Deptford Green

Solar Shading - Sun Shading - External Louvers - Ventilation Louvres

Levolux School

Deptford Green School, which is one of the last in the country to receive funding under the BSF programme, showcases the latest in sustainable building design, including a Levolux Solar Shading solution.

The £32 million development, designed by Watkins Gray Architects, re-unites upper and lower schools, which previously occupied separate sites, transforming education provision for 1300 pupils. The new building, which is arranged over 2 to 5 floors, boasts spacious classrooms, state-of-the-art music, sound recording and IT facilities and naturally lit circulation areas.

Designed to achieve a BREEAM ‘excellent’ rating, the building is optimised to maximise passive energy-efficiency. This included adapting the external envelope, particularly on the south-facing elevation which required a form of Brise Soleil.

As the UK’s leading Solar Shading specialist, Levolux was invited to develop an external Solar Shading solution comprising Western Red Cedar Timber Fins, incorporated into horizontal projections and vertical stacks.

In total, 84 aerofoil-shaped Timber Fins, each measuring 220mm wide by 40mm thick, have been incorporated into horizontal projections above ground, first and second floor windows. Projecting 900mm from the building’s facade and extending 16 metres in length, each horizontal array comprises Timber Fins fixed at an angle of 60 degrees from vertical, between profile-cut aluminium side plates. The Timber Fins are designed to provide shade, while allowing an unobstructed outward view.

In contrast, 288 aerofoil-shaped Timber Fins, also measuring 220mm wide by 40mm thick, have been incorporated into an array of vertical stacks, extending 55 metres in length and with a height of 15 metres. The Fins are fixed at an angle of 90 degrees from vertical, with a graduated pitch across each floor.

At high level along each floor the pitch of the Fins is just 300mm, concentrating them where they provide the most effective shade. At eye level on each floor the pitch of the Fins is opened up to 900mm to maximise daylight levels and allow good outward views across the revamped Fordham Park.

As an effective form of solar control, the Timber Fins counter the risk of excessive solar heat gain in entrance/circulation areas, classrooms and in the dining area, by reflecting and absorbing solar energy before it is transmitted through glass.

The pitch and angle of the Fins ensures they work most effectively in the summer when the sun is at its peak intensity and is higher in the sky. In the winter the sun is less powerful and is lower in the sky, so its rays can pass through the Fins and solar energy can be transmitted through the glass helping to heat the building.

As usual, all timber sourced for this project by Levolux was FSC-certified with a full chain of custody. Western Red Cedar is a lightweight, durable timber and when left untreated, as in this case, it gradually acquires an attractive, silver-grey patina.

To complement the installation, the supporting structure, including support arms and brackets were finished in a graphite grey powder coating.

Opened in September 2012, Deptford Green School provides an exceptional environment for local students to thrive in very challenging times. By adopting highly sustainable and energy efficient features, such as the external Timber Fins by Levolux, the school has created the optimum conditions for students to fulfil their best potential.

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