University building will have low-energy environmental solutions
The University of Warwick has appointed Hoare Lea Consulting Engineers to provide detailed design of mechanical, electrical and public-health engineering services for the Warwick Digital Laboratory. The practice will also supply specialist advice on building design, including virtual engineering and acoustic consultancy. The £13 million laboratory, designed by Edward Cullinan Architects, will provide a high-quality research environment to facilitate major collaborative research opportunities for multidisciplinary teams in areas as diverse as manufacturing, medical informatics and nanotechnology. The building is targeting a BREEAM ‘excellent’ rating. Exposed thermal mass and underfloor heating will form an integral part of the environmental solution to maximise energy efficiency. Large, open demonstration areas will use natural ventilation, while perimeter office areas on the upper floors of this 4-storey building will have a combination of natural ventilation and exposed thermal mass. Internal office areas will use the open atrium as an exhaust-air path. An underground air-intake labyrinth will serve ground-floor internal office areas and meeting rooms to obviate the need for mechanical cooling. The building will draw much of its heating and cooling requirements from the campus district-heating and cooling systems, which use waste heat from a CHP plant and an absorption chiller. The roof will be covered in sedum to slow down the run off of water in storm conditions and provide additional insulation.