January 2012

The £8 million new headquarters development for homewares retailer, Dunelm Mill in Leicester successfully balances sustainability with striking good looks, with help from an external Solar Shading solution from Levolux.

Dunelm Mill HQ1 200 x 200The development provides 50,000 sq feet (5,000 m2) of office accommodation arranged over two floors, with four connected blocks.

Designed by CPMG Architects, the buildings benefit from state-of-the-art technology which helps the development achieve very high levels of energy efficiency. As a leader in its field, Levolux was invited to develop a custom Solar Shading solution to maximise daylight levels, reduce solar heat gain and control glare levels.

Full height glazing allows the sun’s rays to stream into the building, which may be desirable in winter, when solar heat gain is a benefit, but if left un-checked, solar heat gain can become excessive in the summer. This would quickly lead to an uncomfortably hot environment and an increased dependence on energy-sapping air-conditioning.

Dunelm Mill HQ2 200 x 200To prevent this scenario Levolux proposed a solution comprising a total of 46 fully automated, external Venetian Blinds, fitted to two south-facing elevations. Each Venetian Blind is equipped with 80mm wide, roll-formed aluminium slats with a dark grey stove enamelled finish. The Blinds have a drop of up to 3.85 metres and are grouped on each floor to operate together in unison, linked to a stand-alone multi-controller.

Each Levolux multi-controller is programmed to automatically raise and lower the Venetian Blinds and adjust the slat angle, according to readings from external light and wind speed sensors. When the sun reaches its peak intensity on a summer’s day, the slats are closed to prevent excessive solar heat gain, while on an overcast winter’s day the slats are opened to maximise daylight levels.

Dunelm Mill HQ3 200 x 200The Blinds are fitted with a manual override on each floor and if the external wind speed exceeds a threshold, the Blinds are automatically raised up into the head box, preventing damage. As an additional benefit, external Venetian Blinds also help insulate the building by reducing the amount of night cooling during winter months.

Like all Solar Shading systems from Levolux, the motorised Venetian blinds installed at the Dunelm Mill’s HQ, with their attractive dark grey gloss enamelled finish, are backed with the company’s design, manufacture and installation package.

Dunelm Mill HQ4 200 x 200The relocation of the Dunelm Mill headquarters within Leicester provides the additional capacity the company needs to accommodate up to 400 head office staff in comfort, thanks in part to an intelligent Solar Shading solution from Levolux.