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Airflow Simulation Solves Cold Air Problem at Bluewater Winter Garden

Lend Lease Retail Asset Management used FloVENT CFD software to simulate, analyze, and help solve the shopping center’s cold airflow problem caused by heavy traffic coming through their doors on cold days.

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The CFD simulations allowed the problem to be rapidly analyzed and understood and enabled viable solutions to be determined before undertaking costly remedial work.”

Ian Johnson, Engineering Manager, Lend Lease Projects

Cold air drafts from outside

The Wintergarden food court was not originally intended to be a primary entrance to the Bluewater shopping center, but its iconic structure and high atrium towers make it a focal point for the public.

During winter months, cold drafts penetrate deep into the structure because the doors are continuously open – causing retailers inside the shopping center to complain.

Analysis and testing of the airflow

The design group at Elstead, working on behalf of Lend Lease Retail Asset Management who own and operate Bluewater, used FloVENT Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software to analyze the problem and test viable solutions.

An initial computational model was built to ensure that the conditions of air velocity, temperature and pressure experienced on site could be replicated and the causes of the problem could be understood.

The computer simulation replicated the actual conditions well and showed the draught effect quite clearly. It showed that the main cause of the draughts was cold air penetrating deep into the space driven by wind pressure at the external building façade.

Controlling the airflow and temperature

It is clearly not possible to control wind conditions or change the primary building mass, so the simulations focused on ways to control the airflow and increase local air temperature near the entrance.

Various solutions were investigated including overdoor air curtains, a low-velocity downflow ‘air shower’ mounted at high level in the entrance lobby, and strategically placed under-floor heating.

Design options were quickly found which gave satisfactory results and improvements in airflow patterns and temperatures.

CFD is a fast and economical way to predict the performance of heating and ventilation systems, make informed decisions and avoid potentially expensive mistakes.”

Ian Johnson, Engineering Manager, Lend Lease Projects

About Bluewater and Lend Lease

Bluewater, located in northwest Kent, UK, is Europe's largest and most innovative retail and leisure destination. It opened on March 16, 1999 and includes more than 330 stores, 40 restaurants, cafes and bars, and a cinema. Wintergarden is Bluewater’s fast food and family dining area.

Lend Lease is an international property group founded in 1958 and headquartered in Australia. They operate three core businesses: project management and construction, property investment management and property development.

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