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Library of Birmingham

Waterloo contributes to Library of Birmingham’s energy savings

Waterloo Air Products plc has supplied an extensive range of air terminal products for the stunning new 10-storey library in Birmingham’s city centre.

The Library of Birmingham situated in Centenary Square is part of Birmingham City Council’s strategic ‘Big City Plan’ for regenerating the city centre and is set to become a major cultural destination. The 31,000m² facility is the largest public library in Europe, housing nearly 8,000,000 books and is expected to welcome up to 10,000 visitors daily.

The Library of Birmingham is an iconic landmark and Waterloo is very proud to be associated with such a high profile project. We designed an extensive range of standard and custom-built air terminal products to meet the energy efficiency criteria,” comments Rick Edmondson, Chairman, Waterloo Air Products plc.


The library is a striking building with many of its floors having floor-to-ceiling windows to allow views of the city and increase natural light. There is also a roof-top rotunda that houses the Shakespeare Memorial Room and a viewing gallery that offers city views.

Sustainability was a key aim in the design and energy efficiencies have been addressed with a careful selection of materials and extensive use of sun shading in the design detailing whilst enabling as much natural light to permeate into the building.

An aquifer ground source system is being used to support the air conditioning system which includes a wide range of  Waterloo’s air terminal devices (Waterloo Air Products) designed to provide efficient air flow but also satisfy the building’s aesthetic requirements.

A total of 60 passive chilled beams were supplied with a matt black finish to prevent them being seen either through the lattice style ceiling or through the perforated grilles which were also supplied. Sizes ranged from 1700mm to 2800mm long and 600mm wide.

Large one piece perforated grilles were used below a number of passive chilled beams – these were supplied with Waterloo’s unique AFVS spring fastening system which enables grilles to be ceiling mounted but safely removed without the need for any tools, ideal for maintaining and cleaning the chilled beams quickly.

“By using Waterloo’s passive beams, the library will benefit from cooling by natural convection which delivers an effective and draught free environment for the building’s occupants and contributes to reductions in carbon emissions,” adds Rick Edmondson.

Waterloo also supplied 138 WVSV attenuated VAV & CAV dampers designed to supply a controlled volume of air into the rooms in response to demand from thermostats or BMS systems. Many were painted matt black externally to prevent them being seen through the latticed ceiling. Attenuation was a key criterion as many were fitted in exposed situations that offered little or no noise absorption.

A wide range of grilles and diffusers to accommodate numerous applications were also supplied. With swirl diffusers used – high capacity adjustable type for high levels and open areas, fixed blade tile replacement units for smaller public rooms and Waterloo’s SDFS-LCT rear mounted diffusers fitted to ceiling tiles in administration areas, which allowed the ceiling to remain aesthetically unbroken by supply or extract terminals but maintaining excellent comfort conditions.

In addition, Waterloo’s CSB high induction slot diffusers with a matt black finish were also used throughout the building and fitted behind various open celled ceilings. Acoustic door transfer grilles were used in noise sensitive areas to reduce the level of cross talk.

About the Library of Birmingham

The Library of Birmingham will be a major new cultural destination, rewriting the book for 21st century public libraries.

The Library of Birmingham will provide a showcase for the city’s internationally important collections of archives, photography and rare books. New facilities including state-of-the-art gallery space will open up public access to the collections for the first time. It will also be home to a BFI Mediatheque, providing free access to the National Film Archive. Other facilities will include a new flexible studio theatre, an outdoor amphitheatre and other informal performance spaces, a recording studio, and dedicated spaces for children and teenagers. By harnessing new technology, everyone from Birmingham to Beijing, Bangalore and beyond will be able to access the Library of Birmingham’s world-class resources.

Described by its architect Francine Houben as a ‘people’s palace’, the Library of Birmingham will be highly accessible and family-friendly. It will deliver excellent services through collaboration between the library, The Birmingham Repertory Theatre, partners and communities.

It will provide a dynamic mix of events, activities and performance together with outstanding resources, exhibitions and access to expert help for learning, information and culture. As a centre of excellence for literacy, research, study, skills development, entrepreneurship, creative expression, health information and much more, the Library of Birmingham will change people’s lives.

Library of Birmingham, Centenary Square, Birmingham
Opened on Tuesday 3 September 2013
Library of Birmingham

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