Birmingham University

Main photo for Night Purge Natural Ventilation system at Birmingham University

The Building

SE Controls were specified to design a fully automated natural ventilation system in the Metallurgy and Materials building at Birmingham University. The building has a floor area of 14,800m2 based over 3 stories and was originally constructed by Sir Philip Dowson of Arup Associates in 1966. The building consequently won the RIBA Architecture Award for the West Midlands at this time.
In 1993 the building became Grade 2 listed; the challenge for SE Controls was to design a sustainable system capable of maintaining the internal air quality to establish a suitable comfort level, whilst maintaining the aesthetic and integrity of the iconic building.

The Design

The natural ventilation system monitored both temperature and CO2 levels via sensors placed in the required zones. When “set points” reach a certain level for a particular zone, the control system will trigger the automatic opening vents to a set parameter to ventilate the stale air and flush through clean cool air into the required learning areas. The system, made up of 283 no.TGCO 24 15 chain actuators which were connected to 44 No. OS2 OS2 24v DC control panels. The natural ventilation control system was linked to the heating system and external weather station to ensure that the system operated efficiently and effectively when required. SE Controls natural ventilation system also included a ‘Night Purge’ facility which allows cooler air during the coolest part of the night to lower the internal building fabric temperature for the following day.
An early morning purge strategy was implemented into the natural ventilation control strategy where in the mornings the warm stale air would be purged out of the building in preparation of occupant arrival.

The Benefits

The benefits to the SE Control system is that the University are now able to easily manage the control over the air quality and temperature of the building creating the best learning environment possible.

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Natural Ventilation - Night Time Cooling & Early Morning Purge

Project Details



Project: The Metallurgy and Materials building


Location:  Birmingham University


Client:  Birmingham University




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