Buildings constructed by the University have to comply with building regulations which in recent years have dictated improvements in energy efficiency. For example, the University Library extension project went beyond this by signing up to a Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) assessment.
This is a sustainable construction design enhancement service which resulted in the Library achieving the top BREEAM rating of 'excellent' in 2008. Award winning features include:
- Natural ventilation powered naturally by a wind trough in the roof.
- Exposed concrete floor slabs and walls which absorb and release heat slowly which helps maintain stable temperatures day and night.
- Design and orientation of the building to maximise natural daylight levels.
- Manual ventilation panels in the south-facing study bays to allow users to control their immediate environment.
- Rainwater collection for flushing toilets.
- Natural ventilation in action - Library extension
The Dennis Sciama Building constructed for the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation features a series of solar thermal panels mounted on the roof. These provide enough hot water for the majority of the year and also supplement heating for the building. Renewable energy technology like this will reduce building energy costs and reduce carbon emissions. Movement sensitive lighting has been fitted for the same reason.