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Emission savings for Royal Mail

Project architect: PRS Burks Green, Newark
Main contractor: Winvic Construction
Cladding contractor: Yorkshire Sheeting and Insulation Services
System manufacturer: CA Building Products
Systems: Twin-Therm® (roof and walls) combined with a 800m2 SolarWall®
Total roof area: 18,000m²
Estimated energy savings: 233, 396 kWh
Estimated carbon dioxide savings: 59 tonnes per year

• CarbonNeutral building envelope
• Dedicated system with all components direct from CA Building Products
• Certificate of building air permeability showing a result of 2.3m3/hr/m2 at 50 Pascals
• Thermal bridging is virtually eliminated
• Sheets supplied sequentially to reduce build times and improve safety
• External roof and wall (excluding the SolarWall®) manufactured in Corus HPS200 Ultra® supplied with the Corus Confidex® Guarantee
• Roof, wall, firewall and all insulation classified in its own right as non-combustible
• Entire system guaranteed for 25 years
• Building achieved a BREEAM "Excellent" rating
• SolarWall® helped reduce operational energy use by a third
• The project was shortlisted for the Estates Gazette Green Awards

When Royal Mail decided to re-locate its distribution hub in Northampton, it called upon ProLogis and Aviva Investors to provide a building that would meet its sustainability requirements and its specific business needs. As a result, the Carbon Neutral building has been awarded a BREEAM "Excellent" accreditation and an energy performance certificate (EPC) "A" rating (carbon dioxide index 21). This was achieved with the help of suppliers such as CA Building Products, which provided the building envelope along with an 800m2 SolarWall® to help heat the facility.

Twin-Therm® cladding system
The building envelope was supplied as Twin-Therm®, a site assembled roof and wall cladding system that provides a non-fragile assembly with guaranteed U-values. The Twin-Therm® system includes a lightweight liner panel which is quick to install, making the building watertight earlier than other systems, thus enabling work to commence inside the building sooner and helping to speed up the critical path. Once the LT 17 1000S liner is fully fixed and sealed at side laps and end laps it becomes fully non fragile. The systems design and installation method allows for the insulation to be installed continuously, prior to fixing of the spacer systems, minimising thermal bridging. The Therma-bar is then installed on top of the insulation eliminating the need to cut and tuck.

Air tight building envelope
The Twin-Therm® system also ensures that the building is extremely air tight due to its flexibility. Air leakage has been identified as the major source of heat loss from a building's interior. This heat loss not only contributes to higher building running costs but increases unnecessary CO2 emissions due to the additional heating load required to replace it. Gaps occur for air to leak out of when the cladding system is too rigid and requires precise steelwork tolerances in order for the installation to be completed correctly. The liner panels that are provided with CA Building Products built up roof and wall cladding systems have the built in flexibility to cope with steelwork tolerances unlike rigid panel systems. This ability to follow the flow of purlins which have sagged or deflected has enabled this building to achieve an air tightness of 2.3 m³/hr/m² at 50 pascals.

Sequential sheeting
ProLogis, the developer on the project chose the Twin-Therm® system to be delivered with the "sequential sheeting" packing system, which provided the liner panels and external profiled sheets packed in the order in which they were installed onto the roof, reducing the build time considerably. Traditionally, roof sheets are packed by the manufacturer according to their size and then delivered to site. Once they arrive on site the roofing contractor then needs to unpack the sheet bundles and repack the sheets in the order in which they will be installed. This is often done at ground or at roof level. Either way, this practice is often time consuming and puts both the products and the contractors under a great deal of unnecessary risk from injury or damage.

As CA Building Products is part of CA Group which has a contracting arm, they are able to understand the needs and wants on the roofing contractor and offer solutions to help. By working with the specifier, main contractor and cladding contractor, CA can ensure that the roofing and cladding sheets are ordered, produced, packed, loaded and installed in the order in which they are required on the roof.

Solar air heating system
The distribution centre was also fitted with an 800m2 SolarWall® to help maintain a comfortable temperature for staff working in the sorting hall.

The SolarWall® transpired solar collector is an innovative solar air heating system that utilises solar radiation to deliver naturally warmed fresh air into buildings. The SolarWall® was installed as an "additional skin" to the buildings southerly facing facade. It was manufactured in the CA ARC 50 930 profile using Corus Colorcoat Prisma® (Zeus) and was laid horizontally along the elevation to be more architecturally pleasing. The SolarWall® consists of a coated, profiled steel sheet with thousands of tiny perforations uniformly spaced across the full face of the collector. It was installed such as that an air cavity was created between the collector and the original elevation. As sunlight strikes the surface of the SolarWall® and is absorbed, solar heat conducts to the thermal boundary layer of air which lines the outer surface of the panel. This heated boundary layer of air is then drawn through the perforations, into the air cavity, before the heat can escape by convection, virtually eliminating heat loss from the surface of the plate.

The SolarWall® system is utilised as a pre-heater to two Nordair Niche heating and ventilation units which serve a full air induction system, installed by Air Technology Systems (ATS). It is estimated that the SolarWall® at Swan Valley will save Royal Mail 233,396 kWh a year and 59 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, helping them achieve their strict environmental criteria. The SolarWall® has been independently tested, monitored, recorded and proven by BSRIA to produce heating cost savings of 50% and an independently thermally modelled report by Battle McCarthy proved SolarWall® can provide up to 20% of a building's total energy requirements. SolarWall® is recognised globally as a renewable energy form in its current right making it the perfect choice for Royal Mail.

The Twin-Therm® system and SolarWall® come with the Corus Confidex Sustain® Guarantee, ensuring all of the unavoidable carbon emissions created throughout their entire life, cradle to cradle, is offset by investing in environmental projects worldwide.

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