King's College, London

Chilled beams, a sustainable alternative to traditional air conditioning systems, feature throughout the Strand Building at King's College.

Key features




King's College London



Main contractor


Completion year


System type

Integrated Service Modules | ISM

Area M2

877 linear metres


United Kingdom

Product Groups

Leading architectural and design practice, BDP, specified active chilled beams during the refurbishment of King’s College London’s Strand Building. Nearly 1km of active chilled beams were supplied for open plan office areas and cellular office spaces in the re-configured interior of the building.

The active chilled beams provide both cooling and heating to the occupied spaces. Designed and manufactured by SAS International, the units feature a bespoke ‘wing’ profile which integrates luminaires to match the architect’s modern concept for the ceiling fit out.

The installation of the units in the upper levels of the building, where an academic ‘hotel’ has been created, provides a flexible solution for the thermal comfort of occupants.

Active chilled beams feature in 75 cellular offices, allowing academics local control of the temperature via a wall mounted thermostat. Six open plan central areas also allow occupant control of up to six chilled beams via separate wall mounted thermostats.

Chilled beams use water, as opposed to air or refrigerant, as the heat transfer medium. This type of system helps to reduce energy usage due to the system’s comparatively high operating temperature of between 14°C and 17°C, as well as the ability to set up separate cooling zones, ensuring only occupied areas are cooled.

Chilled beams can be combined with technologies such as free cooling and ground sourcing to increase their energy efficiency even further.  By opening up the soffit, the units also allow free air movement to the soffit for sustainable nature mass cooling. As a result the use of active chilled beams can help achieve high EPC, DEC and BREEAM ratings.

Chilled beams provide a sustainable alternative to traditional air conditioning systems, particularly important as we seek to reduce energy usage and carbon emissions.

Located in the heart of central London, the Strand Building is an iconic 1970s Brutalist concrete structure, and forms part of King’s College’s prestigious Strand Campus. The refurbishment proposals called for a sustainable solution that would complement the existing structure and included measures such as solar shading.

BDP acted as both architects and M&E consultants for the project, providing a unified and holistic approach. The work represented Phase 2 in part of a major programme of repair, refurbishment and creative adaptation at the Campus, master planned by BDP.

Systems used