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Energy Saving

Levolux helps Tesco make savings


Following a multi-million pound investment, Highams Park in north-east London has been transformed, with an exciting new mixed-use development, featuring an attractive Timber Fin Solar Shading solution from Levolux.

Anchored by a 60,000 sq ft Tesco superstore, the 11.2 acre regeneration scheme also provides 253 residential units, 10 retail units and 10 industrial units. The development, which was originally refused planning permission back in 2007, was re-designed by ColladoCollins Architects before being approved for construction in 2009.

Under instruction from Spenhill, a wholly owned regeneration subsidiary of Tesco, a phased construction programme began in 2011, starting with the residential units, followed by the Tesco store and the industrial units, which were completed in late 2012.

To help save energy and enhance the appearance of the development, Levolux was invited to develop an external Solar Shading solution. This was required to control solar heat gain through glazed openings, to enhance the external aesthetic of the development and to create a privacy screen for residential units.

The custom solution comprised external Timber Fins arranged horizontally in a series of vertical stacks and incorporated into sliding screens.

Across the Tesco store’s south-facing elevation, 260 elliptical or aerofoil-shaped Fins have been grouped into 8 vertical stacks. The Fins, each measuring 300mm deep by 50mm thick, extend to cover an area measuring 30 metres in length by 8.5 metres in height, with spans of 7.5 metres. Aluminium side-plates and drop-rods ensure the Fins remain secure and stable, even in adverse weather conditions.

Adjacent to the store is a three-storey block of high-spec residential apartments. The apartments are cloaked by 220 aerofoil-shaped Timber Fins, each measuring 200mm deep by 50mm thick, fixed horizontally across the building’s four elevations. The pitch of the Fins opens up from 150mm to 300mm across openings to maximise daylight levels and to allow good outward visibility.

The Fins combine to screen an area measuring 54 metres in length by 8.5 metres in height. The screening not only creates an attractive external aesthetic, but also protects the privacy of residents and provides effective shading.

To complete the installation, Levolux incorporated its Timber Fins into a series of sliding screens fitted to the south-facing elevation of an adjoining terrace of three-storey town houses. Screens were installed at first and second floor levels, across a total of 14 full-height glazed openings. Each Screen, measuring 1.3 metres in width by up to 2.6 metres in height, is suspended from a concealed track, which allows it to be slid across an opening to deliver the desired level of shade.

Jonathan Collins, Partner at ColladoCollins said, “Levolux assisted us in finding the right solution depending upon the specific functional and aesthetic requirements. These were then refined through detailed design to achieve the most economic proposals. The timber louvre colonnade softens the aesthetic of the commercial building facing the residential units whilst protecting the superstore from solar gain and reducing light pollution from the building. The smaller sliding Levolux screens on the terraces houses use the same material but on a domestic scale to tie the designs together.”

All timber supplied by Levolux is FSC-certified, derived from sustainable sources, with a full chain of custody. Western Red Cedar is a lightweight, durable timber, which was left untreated to create a naturally impressive aesthetic. Over time the Fins will acquire an attractive, silvery grey patina.

The prospect of a mixed-use development at Highams Park divided opinion, but now complete it is winning over local residents, not only those who visit its superstore but particularly those who occupy its many apartments and town houses.