Monodraught has installed its Windcatcher natural ventilation and balanced flue systems in a new Visitor Centre at the Wat Tyler Country Park at Pitsea in Essex. Each of the systems feature bespoke capping details that were designed in close cooperation with Laurie Wood Architects. The building is part of a project by Basildon District Council to transform the park into a centre of excellence and regional destination of choice, where over 350,000 visitors each year can relax, play and learn.

The state of the art visitor centre features an 80 seat cafe/restaurant as well as conference, entertainment and education facilities. The structure and design of the building includes a number of elements that will minimise the building’s environmental impact, including the four large Monodraught systems that are located on each apex of the roof, and which the park’s staff describe as “a great feature.”

Simon Springett of M&E consultants The Energy Practice, worked with Monodraught engineers to integrate the Windcatchers into the building management system. He explains, “One Windcatcher system provides natural ventilation for the Activity Hall and another for the Viewing Gallery. A third system is integrated with the boiler flue, and a fourth is used as a plenum for the kitchen extraction system. The Monodraught team was involved from the early stages, providing the calculations and specifying the size of the units.”

Commenting on the choice of Monodraught natural ventilation systems, architect Laurie Wood says, “The whole team was keen to use natural ventilation to complement other low-energy technologies such as the biomass boiler and rainwater harvesting. The design of the building, with open eaves and no ceiling voids, was also ideal for the Windcatcher installation and we were keen to have a bespoke design as a signature for the building. We worked closely with the Monodraught design team to achieve the end result.”

The two 1,200mm square, 1,550mm high Windcatcher systems that provide energy-free natural ventilation to the centre’s Activity Hall and Exhibition Hall are equipped with Monodraught automatic temperature controls, which allow them to be programmed for night time cooling to deliver a downwash of cool air that purges the spaces below, leaving the interior feeling fresh and clean for the following morning.