SE Controls delivers ‘Gold’ standard natural ventilation at Olympic Velodrome

Published on Wednesday, 15 August 2012 14:24
Written by Scott Buckler

The London 2012 Olympic Velodrome, which has been the centre of attention for Team GB's cycling medal haul at this year's games, is using window automation and controls systems from SE Controls as part of its sophisticated natural ventilation solution

Designed by Hopkins Architects, the iconic 6,000 capacity stadium has already won three major awards itself, being named the 'people's poll' winner at the RIBA Stirling Prize, as well as winning the Supreme Award from the Institute of Structural Engineers and the 'Design of the Year' Award for Architecture in April 2012.

From the outset, the building was conceived to be a highly sustainable, low energy structure, which not only influenced the final 'double curvature' shape, materials selection and construction methods, but also the decision to incorporate natural ventilation into the design, developed by environmental services consultants BDSP Partnership.

The natural ventilation solution was driven by the specific needs of competitive cycling where the optimal environment is a hot and humid 28°C on the track, which reduces air density and increases race speeds as cyclist move through the air with less resistance and drag.

Under race conditions, the track temperature is maintained at these elevate levels, but the natural ventilation strategy allows fresh air to enter the building through lower level under-seat ducts, which maintains the spectator areas in the stadium at a more comfortable 18 to 26°C, before the air is exhausted through high level vents.

To provide additional ventilation, vertical vents are fitted within the velodrome's extensive perimeter glazing, which are automatically opened and closed by 196 SE Controls 24 Volt SECO chain actuators with a 835mm stroke length. The actuators were controlled by the Lichfield based company's OS2 controllers, which also integrated seamlessly with the velodrome's Building Management System. SE Controls, were able to draw on their experience as specialist contractors to supply, installed and commission their system on the project.

The velodrome's natural ventilation system monitors temperature and CO2 levels to maintain a comfortable environment. The system also includes ten sophisticated air handling units to maintain airflow and supplementary heating, which is used to increase the air temperatures during cooler seasons.

As there is no air conditioning used within the velodrome to cool the environment and relies solely on the advanced natural ventilation system, this has helped it achieve some outstanding energy figures, having been ranked as the most energy efficient building on the Olympic Park operating at more than 30% below the requirements of Part L of the Building Regulations.

SE Controls' Managing Director, Will Perkins, commented: "The velodrome is one of the permanent legacy facilities of the London 2012 games and is certainly one of the most advanced sporting venues ever been created. Its form not only embodies and reflects the dynamics of high speed track cycling, but also uses a combination of innovative materials, construction methods and environmental management technologies to deliver an outstanding solution. Naturally, we're delighted and proud to have played a part in the velodrome and it was fantastic to see so many world records broken and medals for Team GB at the venue."

SE Controls specialises in the design, project management and installation of advanced smoke ventilation and natural ventilation solutions to meet the needs of architects, contractors, building services engineers and facilities managers worldwide. Further information on SE Controls' products, solutions and projects can be obtained by visiting or calling +44 (0) 1543 443060.


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