Naco 75S Louvres at Cardiff and Vale College.

Architect: BDP, Bristol
Partner: CMB Engineering, Cardiff
Product: 75mm Louvre Panels/Airolution Spirit Inlet System.

Opened in 2015, the Cardiff & Vale city centre campus cost £45m and houses around 4,000 students.  The college provides a state of the art learning environment for students.

The campus includes 130 teaching rooms, including specialist labs, workshops, studios, IT suites, general teaching rooms and two vast learning and skills centres.


Naco have designed, supplied and installed their Natural air ventilators. 

Naco worked together with from Borley Engineering Services. The inlet configuration was chosen for its Shallow depth and improved performance when compared with other external louvres used in this application. 

Naco's 75mm standard metal louvres were installed on this project. You can read more about them here.

Naco louvres help Savoy look the part

Naco, part of Ruskin Air Management, has helped make sure The Savoy look the part following its ground-breaking £100 million restoration.

Improvements to the hotel include a refit for all of its 268 bedrooms, nine floors, reception and extensive lift system. Naco’s louvres, which have been designed to fit in with the grandeur and style of the building, hide unsightly plant on the roofs of the 6th and 8th floor.


Supplied in Knock-Down (KD) form, built up on site, acoustic louvres and doors shield a plant room on the 6th floor; and on the 8th, lean back louvres do a similar job. Throughout the building, Naco restored existing louvres, matching new blades and brackets with their original counterparts to provide weather protection, including driven rain and storm winds, as well as improving the aesthetic appearance.

Due to the prestigious nature of the project, suppliers had to meet a challenging brief to ensure the hotel was brought up-to-date in a way that was appropriate and sympathetic to its 200 year-old heritage. All works had to be carried out while retaining original features.


The age of the building and these exacting requirements meant the project was not without its complications. Jeff Cooper, senior surveyor for the Chorus Group, which oversaw the restoration, explains: “As we stripped the building back unforeseen problems were revealed, particularly with the existing mechanical and electrical (M&E) systems. To this end, any suppliers we used had to react quickly to meet the continually changing requirements of the job.”

Its wide range of products, plus competitive pricing, meant that Naco was able to offer a range of potential solutions. “We were immediately impressed by Naco and have not been disappointed,” said Mr Cooper. “They have been positive and helpful throughout the entire project, consistently coming up with solutions to the issues that inevitably arose.

“Naco was able to react quickly to alterations to the brief; contributing their design and engineering expertise to ensure the louvres did their job, while also concealing equipment that would otherwise be visible and ruin the look of the building.”

Naco was involved at pre-tender stage and was required to produce a design solution from an early schematic design, which required a bespoke acoustic louvre system. The company’s 75 series of external metal louvres, manufactured from aluminium extrusions, were then selected and specifically adapted to meet the brief.

These fixed blade external louvres with 75mm blade spacing are suitable for a wide range of louvre assemblies where a ‘brick course’ line is required and are supplied in a continuous line standard construction. This was seen as the ideal approach for the roof area of the hotel and the ‘mill finish’ appearance blended in nicely.

The Naco louvres were produced in factory built panels before being coupled into the final assembly on site. This eased the installation process and avoided some of the access problems that can occur on a tight city centre site like the Savoy.

Naco supplied the louvres in 1.5m x 2.5m panels with rear mounted stiffener bars, which are fitted as standard to all louvres over 1.2m in width and connected to the blades with aluminium support clips. Stiffener bars do not interrupt the external continuous line appearance of the blades so meeting the aesthetic requirements of the project. The units also have reverse concealed mullions which project 45mm beyond the rear of the frame.

The Savoy is an extremely high-profile development, which required the Naco team to play its role as both designer and problem solver. The company has been supplying louvre solutions to the UK market since the early 60s and provides a full design, manufacture, supply and install service – including post-installation support. It also uses bespoke online sizing software to minimise potential design changes on site.

“Chorus rates the company highly and will definitely consider them for future work,” added Mr. Cooper.

Warming up a Cardiff landmark

One of the most prestigious buildings in Wales has upgraded its natural ventilation strategy in a bid to improve occupant comfort.

Built at the turn of the century, this government building in the picturesque Cardiff Bay area incorporated a number of sustainable features, including natural ventilation. This involved outside air being transported from an under croft plenum into the occupied spaces via trenches and stainless steel floor grilles.

The trenches were fitted with heat emitters and the air flow was managed by attenuators and two-stage motorised dampers.

Air change rates were managed by CO2 and temperature sensors to meet good air quality standards, but in practice occupants often complained about being too cold. This was because most of the fresh air was able to bypass the heater in the trench and enter the space at little more than outside ambient temperatures.

Occupants situated close to the floor grilles, in particular, complained of cold draughts.

On closer inspection, it was also revealed that the motorised dampers were not shutting off completely, which meant more air flowed into the space, even when the dampers were supposed to be closed.


Following detailed study by the engineering consultants Howard Doolan Associates, it was agreed that fixed heating elements mounted directly to the motorised dampers should be used instead. This would ensure full contact between the incoming air and the heating medium and eliminate the cold blocks of air being introduced into the occupied space.

Therefore, the 21 existing motorised dampers were replaced by Vengen insulated units, manufactured by Ruskin Air Management.

The Vengen natural ventilation modules are 930 mm high, comprising a 320mm high winter section with heating coil arrangement and a 630mm high summer section with no heating provision. These double skinned, insulated dampers are very low leakage and boast excellent thermal properties. Additional changes and improvements to the existing control system were also undertaken.

In order to install the Vengen sections, which varied in length from 2,000mm to 5,650mm, the existing attenuators and motorised dampers were removed, and replaced by new Vengen motorised damper assemblies coupled to the heating coils. Finally, the existing attenuators were repositioned and fixed to the new dampers.

The heating coils were then connected to the existing low pressure hot water system and the completed installation commissioned.

Grand design puts house in the shade.

Naco has supplied bespoke louvres to a stunning new home that was featured on Channel 4’s Grand Designs programme in September.

State-of-the-art Sylvan Glade is a highly unusual residential home in Kent. Aesthetics and design considerations were key to the specification, so Naco’s products had to meet exacting standards of form and shape determined by the architect.

Replacing a Georgian Style house, built in the 1950s as part of an exclusive development, Sylvan Glade was constructed by Innovate Space, on behalf of Modillion homes. In stark contrast to its neighbours, the new property is very modern in design, with 90 per cent of its structure made up of glass.

Naco’s louvres provide an attractive screen and solar shading for a bedroom balcony at the back of the building.

 “Apart from shielding the back bedroom from the suns glare, Naco’s louvre system was chosen for its aesthetic merits”, explained Stephen Smithers from Innovate Space. “Most louvre blades available are flat, but Naco’s are shaped like an aerofoil wing, perfectly complimenting the look of the property.

Clean lines

“Much to the dismay of the architect, Building Regulations stipulated that some kind of screening from the neighbours had to be installed, affecting the clean lines of Sylvan Glade’s design. Thanks to the high-end spec and appearance of Naco’s louvres, the architect was kept happy and the building’s aesthetic wasn’t compromised,” he concluded.

Naco designed, manufactured and installed 22 ellipsoidal blades, with shaped end-plates. The blades provide decorative seclusion and a functional vertical sunscreen. A challenging project owing to the curved design of the building, each blade had to be set at a different orientation in order to achieve the desired effect.

Detail is included at the head and cill of the blades, which allows them to be adjusted into their final position, as well as providing flexibility should future modifications be required.

The building was also built with energy efficiency in mind, and Naco’s louvres reduce solar heat gains. In Northern latitudes, such as the UK, the sun is lower, resulting in more exposure for vertical glazing to the sun’s warmth. With increasing emphasis on controlled internal environments and the need for reduced energy consumption, planning for solar gains is necessary, even in air conditioned buildings.

In addition, the house includes an extremely efficient gas boiler, underfloor heating, heat recovery air handling and a ventilation system. The whole house is controlled by a microprocessor.

Stepping up to the challenge of a truly one-off development, Sylvan Glade is an excellent example of Naco’s expertise at providing bespoke solutions to high-end, architecturally led projects.