Outstanding new Environmental Building for the Building Research Establishment

The new environmental building for B.R.E, Garston, is an innovative, low energy design that demonstrates future building trends. The office and seminar block was commissioned by the B.R.E. in early 1994 and practical completion was granted in December 1996.

The building comprises 1300m2 of offices on three floors for a staff of 100 and 800m2 of seminar facilities. The main seminar room holds up to 100 people with two smaller ones on the first and second floors that accommodate 20 people each.

Natural ventilation is of crucial design importance. The cross section through the offices is kept below 14m to allow wind driven cross ventilation. At times of little wind, an air flow will be induced using stack effect ventilation up the stacks on the south facade. The seminar rooms are cooled entirely using stack driven ventilation.

Air paths through the floor slabs were constructed to enable the offices to be sub-divided with partitions. This allows the slabs to be directly cooled by air and increases the building admittance. At night, in summer, the building is ventilated and precooled for the next day.

An underfloor heating system serves the offices and main seminar room. The system is indirectly connected to a borehole which provides additional cooling in summer.

The large office windows maximise daylight and minimise artificial lighting and energy consumption. A lighting control system was also installed to ensure that the lights are off when they are not required. This system is linked to the B.M.S. which allows occupants to control the lights, the ventilation and the external shading louvres from one control point.

The completed structure has achieved the highest possible BREEAM rating.


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