Cambridge University builds £48m energy efficient department

A Cambridge University department has moved into a new £48million building which is energy efficient. Officially opened this week (pictured), the entire Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy has a […]

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By Vicky Ellis

A Cambridge University department has moved into a new £48million building which is energy efficient.

Officially opened this week (pictured), the entire Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy has a new home complete with labs, offices and student lounges.

It is “extremely well insulated”, according to the design firm NBBJ’s Project Lead, Rebecca Mortimore.

She told ELN: “There’s a whole raft of measures which make the building as energy efficient as possible.

“Even the building’s orientation was considered. North is good for energy intensive spaces such as labs because there’s no direct sunlight [heating it up] but good light during the day. Also labs are completely separate from offices and social spaces.”

A special ventilation system which provides natural air circulation for non-laboratory areas (labs need mechanised ventilation) is meant to help keep energy costs down.

Solar PV panels mounted on the rooftop will contribute 3% of the building’s target emissions cut of 10%, with the building’s “passive” design making up the rest of the carbon cut.

The panels will provide 17,000kWh of power throughout the year, according to the engineers’ figures.

A ‘green’ or living roof is planted with wild flowers, bushes and shrubs to naturally insulate the building while harvesting rain water.

The designers say the exposed concrete of the building is efficient because it heats up during the day while windows high up on the building allow it to cool overnight for use the next day.