Canary Wharf's Winter Gardens

PB-1 creates the right climate at Canary Wharf's Winter Gardens

Plumbing Heating and Air Movement News
PHAM No. 150 | Sept. 2003

Canary Wharf, London's newest business district, has fast become one of the capital's most vibrant areas. Home to over 55,000 residents and many international companies, Canary Wharf is now considered to be one of the world's most highly specified urban areas and has been extensively developed by some of the world's leading architects.

Further developments continue to take place at Canary Wharf to improve both the working and living environment for its tenants. The most recent development, due for completion early next year, is the creation of two new public spaces, the East and West Winter Gardens. Described as an 'urban room', the gardens are housed in two glazed structures which rise to some 30 metres at their highest point. Given that these structures will be used all year round, an important consideration for the design team was how to maintain a comfortable temperature within the gardens during both the summer and winter months. Underfloor heating made from Polybutene-1 (PB- 1) pipes proved to be the most suitable choice to create the perfect year-round climate. The Garden's underfloor heating system is designed to maintain winter temperatures at 18+-2°C and to control summer temperatures to a maximum of 26°C.

In heating mode the floor area provides radiant and convective heat, whilst in the summer the stone floors are cooled to act as a heat sink offsetting the solar gain through the massive glazed roofs. This system of climate control is more energy efficient than other methods, with the advantage of temperature control being applied to the 'occupied zone' rather than calling for large amounts of energy to be used in heating the high level space.

As well as the two principal garden areas at Canary Wharf, underfloor heating is also being used in a gallery link bridge at first floor level. This is where the flexibility of PB-1 was a definite advantage as the pipes could be easily cabled through restricted areas. This inherent flexibility allows pipes to be bent to a tighter radius without the need for preliminary tempering or pre-warming.

With fewer joints and access points, a PB-1 system also takes less time to install than other piping Systems. Once complete, the Winter Gardens will be used as a multi-purpose arena for promotions, product launches and as a venue for public events. It is anticipated that the gardens will become one of the busiest areas within Canary Wharf and therefore it is important to try to keep any future maintenance requirements to a minimum.

Since Polybutene-1 is highly resistant to cracking and corrosion, and has an operational lifetime design in excess of 50 years, it meets these needs in full. "Pipe flexibility, ease and speed of installation and the operational lifetime are just a few of the many benefits PB-1 can bring to any installation," explains Keith Barker, from The Polybutene Piping Systems Association (PBPSA), an association formed to underline manufacturers' confidence in PB-1.

"The Winter Gardens at Canary Wharf had specific requirements for the heating system to be used and PB-1 satisfied all of the demanding design criteria. It is cases like this that reinforce our belief as an Association that Polybutene-1 will be the material of choice for heating and plumbing in the future."