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University Arms Hotel - Lobby Nuaire Case Study


University Arms Hotel

The historic hotel in Cambridge was originally opened in 1834

The project

The historic hotel in Cambridge was originally opened in 1834 as the city’s first hotel, but has undergone extensive redevelopments over the years. The most recent £80 million transformation combined a complex heat recovery retrofit with a sympathetic restoration scheme.

The challenge

The overriding intention of the M&E design was to make significant improvements to the energy efficiency of the existing building fabric. This was quite the challenge considering much of the façade and the original floor levels had been retained, bringing with them the usual problems associated with older buildings.

The project presented itself as a challenging retrofit which included getting ductwork into 192 bedrooms through limited ceiling voids which did not line up laterally. Space limitations were a real issue.

University Arms Hotel - Wall Ducts
University Arms Hotel - AHU

The solution

Central plant AHU's were decided as the best option, with Nuaire chosen to design and manufacture bespoke air handling units for the project. Every dimension on the roof was constrained, meaning Nuaire’s design team had to work in millimetre increments to ensure maximum air volume out of each AHU with a maximum height of just 2222mm.

Two bespoke AHUs were supplied, serving a total of 4.4m³ of fresh filtered air to the bedrooms. High efficiency thermal wheels provided maximum energy savings whilst superior unit construction ensured low breakout noise levels; safeguarding the acoustically sensitive bedrooms located near the AHUs.

The architectural design, beautiful interiors and elegant solutions to the complex engineering challenges presented by this iconic building refurbishment make this one of the most interesting and rewarding projects on which Nuaire has worked.

This case study was developed with CIBSE Journal. The original article can be found in the September 2018 issue or at:

“Cambridge's University Arms Hotel refurbishment had to accommodate a complex heat recovery system on a constrained site with strict planning restrictions.”

Andrew Bott, Regional Sales Engineer at Nuaire

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University Arms Hotel Case Study

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