Millennium Gloucester Hotel, Kensington

Reflective window film and tensioned roller blinds to glass roof cut heat & glare in hotel function room

Part of the global Millennium Hotels Group, the Millennium Gloucester Hotel occupies a prime spot in London’s famous Kensington region. The hotel’s facilities include a stunning glazed roof atrium function space deigned to host dinner parties and large group functions. After a detailed selection process Millennium Hotels chose Waverley to design, supply and install a shading solution to the glass roof to further improve the comfort of guests during events.

The hotel’s management team had identified the need to provide guests with some protection against heat and glare during the summer months. While the replica palm trees gives the space a tropical feel the fully glazed roof were creating tropical temperatures!

The challenge of shading horizontal & sloping glazing

The health and environmental benefits of maximising natural daylight has led to increase in the use roof glazing and atria. This presents a common challenge for architects and facilities managers – how to provide protection against the effects of solar heat gain on horizontal and sloping glazing? And how is the shading system operated given that it is normally installed beyond reach from a standing position on the floor?

There is also the question of how is any shading system installed when typically excessive heights are involved. Atria glazing can be way beyond reach of step ladders. Use of scaffold towers and powered access equipment presents a health & safety challenge as well as a logistical hurdle.

A dual approach

Waverley used two window treatments to meet the challenge presented by the hotel’s glazed roof. Firstly a reflective window film was installed to the inside of the glass. This has a permanent heat reducing effect as the reflective coating creates a barrier to the short wave radiation from the sun (commonly known as light) reducing the amount of light absorbed by the glass and being re-radiated as long wave radiation (commonly known as heat). Read our blog to find out more on this subject.

Secondly, Waverley supplied and installed a series of ShadeTech® RBT-I tensioned roller blinds with Mermet Satine 5500 screen fabric to provide further glare and heat reduction. Electrically operated from a wall mounted central switch, the blinds can be opened and closed effortlessly. The blinds are mounted to the glazing frames and run parallel to the glass in side channels. The side channels also conceal a tensioned cord system which keep the fabric taut at all times.

Mermet Satine 5500 fabric was chosen as it is sufficiently stable to be used on a tensioned system. The 3% openness factor of the weave provides adequate shade whilst still allowing a good degree of natural light into the space.

Working at height inside a busy hotel

Working at height in a fully operational hotel called for detailed planning and cooperation with the hotels facilities management staff. Mobile scaffold towers were used to gain access to the roof which was over 10m from the floor at the highest point. The floor was protected against the scaffold with ply sheeting. Each blind, some of which were over 3m wide were lifted manually up to the roof space. Waverley staff are trained and certified in the safe use of scaffold towers.

Waverley employed their own specialist electrical sub-contractor to ensure power outlets were provided in the correct places.
The end result is an opulent function space that can be used confidently on even the hottest day. The film provides constant protection against heat build-up and the blinds can be raised and lowered to change the amount of natural daylight. When in use the blinds also improve the acoustics within the space.

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