Nottingham Playhouse is a Grade II* Listed theatre with a conventional proscenium layout, seating an audience of 770. It has English Heritage importance, and is an iconic landmark, with hundreds of productions, events and exhibitions taking place throughout the year attracting thousands of visitors.
The challenge for Gleeds Building Surveying Ltd was to reduce the Playhouse’s energy bills by making the 1960s building significantly more energy efficient – without damaging or altering the building appearance and without disrupting theatre operations. Preserving the authenticity and integrity of the Playhouse needed to be balanced with the demands of modern use.
Each aspect of the works carried out required planning permission, listed building consent and English Heritage’s input and approval. All works were completed within these stringent requirements, incorporated and hidden within the structure, all whilst the theatre was in live operation – no performances had to be cancelled as a result of the works.
The innovative façade design included the use of Spacetherm® blanket. 15mm Spacetherm Blanket was used between the Glazing and Board to improve thermal performance of the building. The Spacetherm® Blanket consists of unfaced sheets of high performance aerogel composite insulation. The possible applications of the Spacetherm® Blanket are virtually limitless as it has been used in doors, shutters, window reveals, boats, swimming pool covers and numerous other applications where thermal performance, space and thickness are critical.
As a result of this work, Spacetherm® insulation has provided a 34.30% reduction in heating load which works out a significant cost saving. The Playhouse’s charitable education activities have peen protected by slashing energy bills enabling those monies to be spent on core activity not energy bills. Indicative readings from December show that it has already cut usage by 30% before the system.
For any building to have an energy efficient, healthy, moisture free building envelope there is a clear need to manage the balance of Heat, Air and Moisture movement (HAMM) throughout the building’s life cycle from design, construction, completion and use.