VELUX and Foster + Partners launched the new VELUX Modular Skylights during an event at 30 St Mary Axe in London on 13 September 2012. The first collaboration of its kind for both companies, the project aims to radically improve the environmental performance of every aspect of roof lights – the new frame offers levels of insulation far better than a typical aluminium profile.
The innovative VMS solution is designed to function in a wide range of building types, from offices to schools, retail spaces and hotels. The range of three skylights fulfil different requirements in terms of size, placement and functionality and the modular system is highly versatile – it can be used to create a single window or long light, or even to cover an entire atrium.
During the development of the skylights, initial computer and foam modelling in London was followed by prototyping and pultrusion design in Denmark. Full-size working prototypes were then refined using the wind tunnel and extensive VELUX testing facilities. The glazing is framed by slim profiles, which maximise daylight, offer high thermal performance and can integrate glare control blinds. The strong, slim pultrusion profiles have a thermal performance comparable to timber, combined with a tensile strength greater than aluminium or steel – yet, compared to aluminium, the glass fibre composite is more sustainable and still strong enough to support triple-glazed units up to three metres long. The roof light achieves a U-value of just under 1.0 W/m²K for the whole unit, including the frame.
The openable skylights support natural ventilation, rain-proof trickle ventilation and night ventilation strategies, as well as smoke clearance. The quiet, fully integrated motorised controls can be linked to BMS systems to form part of a low-energy, whole building lighting, heating and ventilation approach. A range of glass specifications to suit different European climates ensure that solar gain is kept to a minimum where it is not desired. The VELUX Modular Skylights range is launching first in the UK, Denmark and Sweden in 2012, followed by Belgium, Holland, Germany and France in 2013.
David Nelson, Senior Partner and Head of Design at Foster + Partners: "The benefit of collaboration between an organisation like ourselves and the VELUX Group is enormous. The problems we are all facing in the world cannot be solved by any one individual – or, more increasingly, even one discipline like architecture. So by combining knowledge and components in the way we have with VELUX, that is a very good thing for design in the future - because we are able to achieve a lot more for a lot less."
Paul Kalkhoven, Senior Partner and Head of Technical Development, Foster + Partners: "At Foster + Partners we enjoy working with industry and have a long history of collaborating with manufacturers to develop products, but this project for a building element product was a first for us. We were impressed by the VELUX approach, particularly their investment in research and development and the reliability that this brings. Our contribution to this collaboration was the refinement of the appearance, the integration into various roof configurations and setting the performance and sustainable design criteria, to meet the needs of architects, contractors and clients."
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