Manchester Civil Justice Centre enjoys the benefits of underfloor air conditioning
AET’s Flexible Space System has been installed in the £113 million Manchester Civil Justice Centre to provide efficient and highly adaptable air conditioning.
It is the largest court building to be built in the last 130 years, with a floor area of 34 000 m2 and 47 courtrooms. Few of the multi-purpose rooms in this 16-storey building are the same size and shape, so engineering designer Mott MacDonald selected the AET system as a versatile, low-energy mixed-mode ventilation system to ensure maximum utility value.
The system was installed by Axima Hills throughout office accommodation on four floors. Mixed-mode ventilation is achieved through a combination of underfloor air conditioning served by conditioned-air modules (CAMs) and free cooling via fan tiles, air-handling units for fresh air and windows.
Glan Blake Thomas, managing director of AET, explains, ‘Flexible Space was ideal for the installation at Manchester as it is easily incorporated into a complicated structural network and offers maximum flexibility for future changes through its moveable fan tiles.’
The underfloor system uses the plenum under raised access floors as a duct, with the building divided into zones depending on the potential use and occupancy density of the area. Each zone is supplied by chilled or warmed air by a CAM. The underfloor void is divided into supply- and return-air channels using relocatable, airtight baffles. Supply air is delivered into the occupied spaces by fan-assisted terminal units that are recessed into the floor and connected by data cabling for intelligent control. Air travels back to the CAM via return grills in the floor for mixing with fresh air.
The fan tile units do not have duct or pipe connections so they can easily be changed with other floor panels to respond to changes in office layouts.