Natural ventilation reduces environmental impact of Wat Tyler visitor centre

Monodraught, windcatcher, natural ventilation
Natural ventilation for this new visitor centre in Essex is provided by two Monodraught Windcatcher systems with bespoke finishes.

Natural ventilation for the new visitor centre at the Wat Tyler Country Park at Pitsea in Essex is provided by two Monodraught Windcatcher systems with bespoke capping systems designed in close co-operation with Laurie Wood Architects. A third system is integrated with the boiler flue, and a fourth is used as a plenum for the kitchen-extraction system.

The park has over 350 000 visitors a year, and the new centre also has an 80-seat cafe/restaurant as well and conference, entertainment and eduction facilities.

Simon Springett of M&E consultant The Energy Practice worked with Monodraught to integrate the Windcatchers into the building-management system. He explains, ‘One Windcatcher provides natural ventilation for the activity hall and another for the viewing gallery. A third system is integrated with the boiler flue, and a fourth is used as a plenum for the kitchen-extraction system. The Monodraught team was involved from the early stages, providing the calculations and specifying the size of the units.’

Architect Laurie Wood explains, ‘The whole team was keen to use natural ventilation to complement other low-energy technologies such as the biomass boiler and rainwater harvesting. The design of the building — with open eaves and no ceiling voids —was also ideal for the Windcatcher installation, and we were keen to have a bespoke design as a signature for the building. We worked closely with the Monodraught design team to achieve the end result.’

The two Windcatchers are 1200 mm square and 1550 mm high. They have automatic temperature controls so they can be programmed for night-time cooling.

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