London’s Velodrome

5 December 2013 — The London 2012 Olympic Velodrome achieved a BREEAM Excellent rating by successfully integrating simulation into the design process, authors of a newly published journal article have found.

The piece, published in the Journal of Building Performance Simulation, outlines the simulations performed to get the velodrome to such high standards of environmental performance, which encompassed a “wide range of airflow, thermal, daylight and energy models used to simultaneously support and drive the design as well as quantify the overall performance”.

The authors of the journal article, London 2012 Velodrome – integrating advanced simulation into the design process, revealed there were three key competencies needed to succeed: simulation competence – creation of a simulation fitting the brief; integration competence – assimilation of the simulation into the working architectural design; and holistic design competence – use of architectural design, environmental engineering and service concepts to meet the project KPIs.

The design process simulations were used to ensure the finished velodrome met the KPIs set, while maximising visual, environmental and functional potentials, the authors said.

Environmental concept summary diagrams for the summer and winter operation of the Velodrome.

Environmental design determined the building form to increase aerodynamics, ventilation and reduce volume. Air flow simulations were used to enable the building to use natural air flow ventilation, with the bowl shape of the building supplementing this to produce more airflow driving-force.

Winter heating feasibility simulations ensured a well-mixed thermal environment with target temperatures maintained throughout. Computational fluid dynamics was used to ensure natural ventilation could maintain suitable environmental temperatures and on-track air velocity criteria during summer.

Daylight simulation of final rooflight arrangement.

Natural light was a significant factor in reducing energy consumption. Lighting simulations helped determine the geometry of the roof as the main provider of natural light into the building. Diffusion glazing was used to avoid hard shadows and distraction for the cyclists.

As diffusion glazing has reduced light transmittance capacity, a larger glazed area on the roof was needed to maximise luminosity. Combined with aesthetics, insulation issues, buildability and sound structure, the light simulations played a key role in determining building design.

The Olympic Delivery Authority placed stringent environmental objectives on the design team as an element of the Sustainable Development Strategy stated in the outline planning permission for the Olympic Park.

The ODA aimed to reduce carbon emissions by 50 per cent compared to 2006 good practice, by using renewable energy and maximising energy efficiency. Energy modelling, through a series of compliance calculations, energy use calculations and validation was central to enabling the ODA to meet these targets through efficiency of building and infrastructure.

Peter King, executive director of British Cycling, said: “It’s got everything we could have wished for in terms of cycling; but it is also the most iconic venue in the park.”

The velodrome will open to the public as the Lee Valley VeloPark in March 2014.