Staff Office User Guide - Erskine Building - Computer Science and Software Engineering - University of Canterbury - New Zealand

Staff Office User Guide - Erskine Building

The following information is from the building user guide produced by the architects, Architectus CHS Royal Associates.

The design of the Academic Offices aims to create intimate and discrete spaces with individual control of heating, lighting, shading and ventilation. The design of these rooms employs passive energy design principles, which means that in order to create the most comfortable working environment, the room's user has to play his/her part.

plan of office The offices face directly north. The combination of highly insulated concrete panels and internal masonry walls provide high thermal mass, which limit internal temperature fluctuations. Radiators integrated in the window wall provide heat. These radiators have thermostatic valves with limit stops, allowing the occupant to change the temperature within pre-set limits.

The end walls are predominantly glazed, allowing good daylight penetration into the room. The overhang created by the balcony of the office above gives shading. This is supplemented by a moveable shutter. The shutter's two sets of cedar louvred blades can be rotated using the central sticks. This allows for a good range of control over shading and ventilation - fully closed; fully open; window open but louvres drawn and so on.

The sliding window, trickle vent ventilation for winter time and high level hopper window provide several means of controlling the room's air flow.

Window Adjustment

diagram of window

In summer, it is best to open the secure louvres above the door during both day and night, to increase cross ventilation within the room. During the day, the concrete walls, floor and ceiling absorb the heat from the sun, releasing it back into the room as the temperature cools toward the end of the day. By keeping the louvres over the door open at night time, this heat will be able to escape from the room, thus ensuring that the room is not stuffy and hot the next day.

On a windy but hot day, opening up the hopper window in combination with the louvres over the door will ensure cross ventilation, without the nuisance of the winds affecting the user’s work. When closing the hopper, there is no need to wind the hopper hard against the window frame, as this can end up damaging the mechanism.

In Winter, the trickle vent will provide sufficient ventilation to prevent the air becoming stale. This can be supplemented by opening the louvres over the internal door as well.

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  • Computer Science and Software Engineering
    University of Canterbury
    Private Bag 4800, Christchurch
    New Zealand
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