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Underfloor air conditioning continues to offer flexibility for height-restricted Tricorn House refurbishment

Underfloor air conditioning (UAC) has proved to be a flexible and modular approach for the iconic Tricorn House building, situated on the Hagley Road in Birmingham, for more than 10 years.

Tricorn House interior

The interior of Tricorn House

In 2014, AET Flexible Space supplied and commissioned the building’s UAC systems to two additional floors in the 12-storey building: the 7th and 9th floors as well as fit-out equipment for the 9th and 10th floors.

Originally specified for the 8th floor in 2004 as an option that would bring cooling to the inner areas of each deep-space floor area while maximising headroom with a restrictive 2.8m slab to underside slab height, AET Flexible Space has continued to work with developers Commercial Estates Group to provide low-energy air conditioning and a thermally comforting solution to the multi-tenanted office space. The change from perimeter fan coils in the original refurbishment to plenum-based air conditioning increased headroom within the space, offering a floor-to-ceiling height of 2.5m. This latest supply of equipment included 7 no’s CAM downflow units and 110 slimline fan terminal units featuring the latest EC fan technology.  The slimline Fantiles are easily accommodated within the shallow 175mm floor void.

The AET Flexible Space system uses the plenum as the ventilation duct, eliminating the need for ceiling-based ductwork and making it easy and economical to adapt to changes in the workplace. Conditioned air is introduced into the space via floor recessed fan terminal units, called Fantiles, which are easily relocated with the 600mm x 600mm raised floor tiles and also feature integrated controllers, allowing users to personally adjust temperature and fan speed settings.

One of the key features of the system specified for Tricorn House was the addition of AET Fresh Air units, which introduce untreated fresh air at floor level for each of the three wings.  The CAM downflow units are therefore handling the heating and cooling of the fresh air in winter and summer as well as normal solar and internal space loads, reducing plant space riser and maintenance requirements.

The AET Flexible Space system now features on seven of the 10 office floors of Tricorn House. The latest specification added an additional downflow unit to the specification on previous floors, accommodating increased cooling load requirements through higher density and occupant demand – again demonstrating the flexibility of the UAC system and its suitability to multi-tenanted speculative office developments.

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