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RCI January 2018

KINGSPAN LIGHT + AIR Making warehouses WELL Imma Boada, specification manager at Kingspan Light + Air discusses the increasing popularity of WELL buildings which focus on the wellbeing of the buildings occupants through natural and artificial lighting solutions Commercial building design has thankfully come a long way since the dark factories of the industrial revolution. These days, companies understand that a healthy working environment can create a happier, more productive workforce. Since 2014, a growing number of projects have sought certification under the WELL Building Standard. The standard is the first to specifically focus on the wellbeing of building users and a growing range of artificial and natural lighting technologies are now being developed to help designers and installers to meet its demanding requirements. Setting the Standard The average working European is now estimated to spend around 87% of their working days indoors. The International WELL Building Institute (IWBI), which administers the WELL Building Standard, was set up in recognition that conditions within these buildings can have a significant impact on the long-term health of occupants and need to be specifically addressed. The standard was developed over several years through careful consultation with a range of parties including architects, doctors and scientists. Much like the popular BREEAM standard, WELL building assessments cover seven major areas broken-down into a number of subcategories called features. The key assessment areas are: • Air — Covering a range of air quality factors such as air filtration, VOC reduction, cleaning products and pest control. • Water — Assessing the quality of drinking water within the space. • Nourishment — Considering provision and support for healthy eating. • Light — Assessing the quality of natural and artificial light within the space, including glare 024 JANUARY 2018 RCIMAG.COM control. • Fitness — Considering design elements which can help to promote periods of activity such as staircases and gyms. • Comfort — Including thermal comfort, sound masking and ergonomic work spaces. • Mind — Covering measures aimed to improve mental health such as post occupancy surveys, healthy sleeping policies and adaptable spaces. Certain minimum requirements must be met in each category in order for the building to achieve certification. Once an application is submitted, an onsite audit is then completed. If successful, the building will be awarded a Silver, Gold or Platinum standard certification. Up to now, the vast majority of the buildings approved under the scheme globally have been office buildings. There is, however, a growing demand from tenant companies for “big shed” developments to be completed to the standard. The giant footprint of these buildings means that one of the key challenges when designing and constructing them to the WELL Building Standard is providing enough natural daylighting in central building areas. In order to achieve this, the number, position and performance of rooflights must be carefully considered through effective climate-based daylight modelling (CBDM). Model Results By utilising the latest computer modelling techniques, rooflight suppliers are now able to accurately simulate and test how a daylighting system will perform at the design stage in a project. To achieve this, a 3D model of the building is generated and interrogated using local climate data, including sun position throughout the year. Under the Daylight Modelling feature of the WELL Standard, these simulations must show that the daylighting scheme can meet the following conditions: a. At least 55% of the space receives at least 300 lux 28 fc of sunlight for at least 50% of operating hours each year. b. No more than 10% of the area can receive more than 1,000 lux 93 fc for 250 hours each year. In order to deliver on the requirements of point b., the roof lighting solution must provide excellent light diffusion, however, traditional pigmented diffusion approaches can significantly reduce light transmission. To resolve this, some of the latest generation of rooflights instead feature a nano-prismatic composition. The microscopic structures within these systems help to efficiently scatter light, delivering 100% diffusion whilst also allowing excellent light transmission. A further issue project teams may encounter when attempting to meet this requirement within the WELL Building Standard is that traditional inplane, roof-mounted daylighting systems perform poorly when the sun is at low angles, such as early morning or late evening. To address this, cutting edge new rooflights have been designed applying the nano-prismatic technology within a contoured design. This shape allows light to be efficiently captured even at low sun angles – naturally lighting buildings for the greatest possible number of hours in the day. Holistic Solution In many cases, the drive to create healthier buildings works hand-in-hand with the requirement for greater energy efficiency. Improved daylighting in buildings not only benefits the health of building tenants, it can also reduce energy demand for artificial lighting. By pairing these features with low energy lighting, incorporating occupancy and daylight harvesting sensors, building owners can maximise the long-term financial benefits of these measures. Furthermore, by utilising modern modelling techniques, system suppliers are also able to provide accurate upfront estimates of the energy and cost savings that can be achieved over several years. Whilst the number of WELL Building Standard developments within the UK is still relatively low, there is a growing acknowledgement of the need for employers to provide healthy work environments for staff. By applying modern daylight and artificial lighting technologies and design approaches, it is possible to create warehouse spaces that meet the highest standards for natural light, potentially improving both tenant wellness and the saleability of the unit whilst also cutting energy emissions and longterm running costs. www.kingspanlightandair.co.uk


RCI January 2018
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