MAKING THE GRADE IN THE USA January 2016
The new Essex Technical High School in Massachusetts, USA harnesses the latest building technology, including a striking external Infiniti Fin solar shading solution from Levolux, to deliver a first class environment for students and teachers alike.
Opening in September 2014, this revolutionary new school was designed by Design Partnership of Cambridge to achieve LEED Silver Certification. The four storey development brings together the North Shore Vocational School, Essex Agricultural High School and programmes from Peabody High School.
Four new school buildings provide more than 330,000 square foot of teaching space and can accommodate up to 1440 students, participating in 22 career programmes. Each building becomes its own specialist academy focussing on animal and plant science, technology and services, life and natural science and construction technology.
To create the optimum environment for occupants, balancing light and shade, Levolux was approached to design and supply a custom solar shading solution for the new school. By leveraging its unrivalled experience and expertise, Levolux developed a solution based on its popular Infiniti Fin system, with unique concealed fixings.
The Infiniti Fin solution comprises horizontal aerofoil-shaped aluminium fins that are secured above and across glazed areas. A 400mm wide Fin has been used on the largest of four school buildings, which incorporates the school’s main entrance. The Fins are fixed into a series of vertical stacks comprising up to 9 Fins, set at 600mm centres.
On all four school buildings, a 200mm wide Fin has also been incorporated into a series of vertical stacks comprising up to 5 Fins, set at a pitch that varies from 300mm up to 600mm. A key benefit of using the Infiniti Fin system, is the ease with which Fins can be engineered to wrap around the building envelope, negotiating internal and external corners.
All Fins are inclined at 100 degrees from vertical to provide the ideal sun cut-off angle. As an effective, passive shading device, the Infiniti Fin system limits the exposure of glazing to direct sunlight when it is at its peak intensity. This is critical for preventing excessive solar heat gain, particularly in the summer. In the absence of the Fins, internal temperatures would become uncomfortable and cooling loads would soar, thereby increasing the dependency on air conditioning, which would increase running costs.
All Fins are formed from extruded aluminium components, which has been given an attractive and highly durable, anodised finish.
The Infiniti Fin system is secured back to the curtain walling system using Levolux’s innovative Triniti Bracket. The bracket features a unique, patented thermal break, minimising heat loss, noise transmission and preventing problems associated with cold bridging.
The new Essex Technical High School in Massachusetts, with its four distinct academy buildings, sets a new benchmark for education provision in North America. Thanks to the solar shading solution supplied by Levolux, students will remain comfortable and cool while they remain focussed on a diverse range of subjects, such as veterinary technology, landscaping or environmental technology.