Gilberts solves air-movement issue for Exhibition Centre Liverpool
The air-movement system for the halls and main atrium of the new £66 million Exhibition Centre Liverpool was designed and supplied by Gilberts (Blackpool). Built by ISG, the venue is Europe’s only purpose-built interconnecting arena, convention centre and exhibition centre. It provides 8100 m2 of space in a complex that includes the new 4-star hotel Pullman Liverpool.
The air-movement strategy takes into account the impact of heat gain through the 135 m-long double-height fully glazed concourse and the variation of height within the building — rising from 6 to 9 m.
Gilbert’s R&D manager Ian Leonard explains, ‘The centre’s location, being partially south-facing and the amount of glazing meant it could potentially be a greenhouse. Our expertise in air movement and our ability to computer model meant we were able to run and test theories first and ensure the air movement would deliver a comfortable environment in the atrium and throughout the three halls.
‘Originally, a double-duct strategy was specified — with one set of ducts providing cooling and the other heating.
‘We suggested a directional, single-duct strategy, which delivered a better value solution — one of the project objectives! Even though it used components that were individually more expensive, it delivered significant savings to building-services contractor Briggs & Forrester and ISG, as the overall amount of materials and labour was reduced.’
The solution centres around Gilbert’s DL drum louvres and GSJA/T patented thermal swirl diffusers with adjustable vanes on heating inset into a single run of ductwork at high level along the full length of the atrium.
When cooling, the louvres and diffusers throw out air at high level to reduce the temperature in the rising warm air. When heating is required, the airflow is directed downwards.
To help satisfy all parties that the ventilation strategy would work, Gilberts’ technical team undertook CFD (computational fluid dynamic) modelling to ensure the selections provided would meet the required building ventilation.
The CFD results were analysed and discussed in depth with Briggs & Forrester, enabling finite adjustments to be made before installation began.
Ian Leonard explains, ‘Our bespoke software enabled all options and variations to be effectively explored, tried and tested before actual installation, so the client could rest assured the end result would deliver. We ran several sets of tests as discussions progressed, to ensure all eventualities and concerns raised by the client were addressed.’