The new Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) research facility at the Penglais campus of Aberystwyth University will research food, energy and water security in response to climate change. The building will contain office space, laboratories, meeting rooms, seminar rooms and a cafe.
This flagship facility will be the focal point for research, teaching and a graduate school. An interim rating of BREEAM Excellent has been achieved for the building design. Once constructed, an assessment to confirm the final rating of the building will be carried out.
Construction has been funded by the Welsh Assembly Government who require a BREEAM rating of 'Excellent' and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. It is also an inspiration of the University that all new builds should acheive the BREEAM Excellent standard.
Shallow building depths will help to maximise the benefits of solar gain, in combination with appropriate shading and natural ventilation. When heating is required it will be generated using ground source heat pumps. Natural ventilation provides sufficient cooling to the majority of the building, and louvered façade elements will allow a good level of occupant control.
High levels of daylight that will be achieved will further reduce the energy demands of the building and increase occupant satisfaction. A BMS will be used to monitor high energy load areas such as the laboratories, as well as the seminar rooms, social space, etc. The specification of a ground source heat pump will lead to a 12.6% reduction in CO2 emissions of the building.
Given the function of the building and the research that it will support, the University was keen to ensure that the new facility contributes to the conservation of biodiversity. A green roof has been designed for the building and a planting strategy which enhances the ecology of the external landscaped area has been devised with the help of an ecologist. The landscaping is designed to require no irrigation, and irrigation needs of the green roof will be met using harvested rainwater.
The rainwater harvesting system has also been designed to help reduce the risk of flooding by providing excess water run-off storage facilities during storms.
A life cycle cost analysis was carried out at the strategic and system level of the external envelope and finishes. This led to the specification of the options with the lowest discounted cost to be stipulated, for example high grade carpet has been specified to prolong the replacement intervals.
"This marks a significant step in IBERS investment for the future. We are proud of the environmental credentials of the building and these new state-of-the-art facilities will enable this award winning Institute to continue to attract high calibre staff to teach the scientists of the future in an unrivalled environment. The whole project team for the IBERS Penglais development has worked hard and is delighted to have achieved the BREEAM Excellent standard and subsequent award for the design stage. This continues to support the University's sustainability agenda."
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