Hands up if you have worked in one of those offices where you are freezing in summer and boiling in winter? Many and various of us at Boomworks certainly have, so during our office fit-out when the conversation turned to air-conditioning we had plenty to say. The design scheme called for the main office work area to be upstairs, which also meant the majority of the people and equipment would be closer to the tin roof. It doesn’t take too any stinky armpits to tell you that meant things were going to get hot up there.
Our architects Haughton Design recommended we engage a dedicated Ecologically Sustainable Design (ESD) firm to assist with the passive cooling and related air-conditioning requirements. This would ensure the overall design scheme for the office could be enhanced where required to optimise natural ventilation and ensure resource efficiency in terms of energy, water and materials.
With the ESD firm Cundall appointed, we quickly got them up to speed with the Boomworks way of thinking. What followed was an amount of air flow modelling, site inspections and numerous ideas and drawings that would define the ESD strategy for the office.
These initiatives included:
- Upgrade of the basic roof insulation
- Internal ceiling panels incorporating roof vents
- Skylight windows that can be opened
- Ceiling fans
- Natural ventilation via numerous window systems and the famous indoor garden
So how does it all work? Essentially, within our warehouse space we have created an outdoor area and a larger indoor area. The outdoor area is created by having two large vergolas in the roof above our garden and also by restoring two external windows to the original heritage facade of the building. The indoor area is a large, two storey timber and glass office box that sits within the envelope of the original space, essentially surrounded by the “outside” air.
With the vergolas and external windows open, air is drawn in and around the interior box. As much of the glass components of the box are louvers or sliding panels, it is possible to open the office area. With the skylights above the work area also open, the fresh air is effectively drawn in and through, cooling the space as it does. According to the modelling, this should keep us in our target temperature range between 75%-85% of the time, without the need for air-conditioning.
Enough said. View our album on Flickr