The Context

Reznor is a division of Nortek Global HVAC, one of Europe’s leading heating specialists, and resolved the issue by supplying an air curtain from its ACV architectural range.  Complementing the well-established wall-mounted AC series, ACV units are purpose-designed for applications where the aesthetic appearance of the system is as important as functionality and/or space above the door is limited.

Since the dealership’s double sliding entrance doors provide the only vehicular access to the building, they hinge forwards to maximise the available space.  Cars for the showroom display are moved into place using a lift, while customers move around the building via escalators positioned around the lift shaft.  Escalators are prone to scooping up and channelling cold air currents, which then cascade down through the space.  The resulting cold draughts make for uncomfortable conditions that are likely to have an adverse impact on the customer experience.

ACV air curtains are designed for entrance doors of up to 3m in height.  With a heating capacity of 16.2kW to 34.6kW, the unit delivers a powerful airflow – up to 5,100m3/ hour – yet is quiet to operate.  As a result, the ACV range is well-suited to exclusive shops, headquarters office buildings, hotel lobbies, golf clubs, conference centres and large glass-fronted structures like the Audi dealership.

The best results are achieved by mounting air curtains vertically and as close as possible to the door on either side of the opening, although the ACV unit can also be installed horizontally for added flexibility.  At West London Audi, Reznor worked with M&E contractor Hendry Electrical of Grimsby to provide a minimalist, and highly stylish solution.

The ACV2500SE20 unit was mounted vertically at the side of the entrance doors and, because it is self-supporting, there was no requirement for extra steelwork or brackets.  Adjustable feet help to compensate for uneven surfaces to ensure a neat installation.

All three models in the Airbloc ACV range come with a choice of either ambient, three phase electric or low pressure hot water (LPHW) connections, which can be through the top or bottom for a clean professional finish.  The air curtain is operated via a wall programmer, which incorporates thermostat/time functions and, in advanced mode, can be controlled over a MODBUS protocol link.

For a prestigious building such as the Audi dealership, which relies heavily on ‘kerb appeal’, it was essential that the air curtain did not detract from its surroundings.  ACV units are supplied in polished, mirror-polished and brushed stainless steel with a black intake/outlet grille as standard, but Audi commissioned a customised finish in silver (RAL9006) to colour match the dealership’s glazed entrance lobby.

Stuart Godfrey, Project Manager at Hendry Electrical, said: “Thanks to [Reznor]’s ACV air curtain, cold draughts no longer cascade throughout the entrance area. Conditioned air is effectively sealed in, and with both modulating heat and five fan speeds the unit automatically compares the exterior temperature to that inside the dealership to maintain the required internal set point.  

“Audi is delighted with the result because the air curtain not only provides a comfortable environment for visitors and staff, but has also delivered important energy savings to help reduce the overall dealership running costs.”