The SWIoT building places sustainability at its heart

Sustainability at the heart of the new SWIoT centre

Sustainability is at the heart of one of the University’s newest buildings, currently under construction on the Streatham Campus.

An extension to the University’s Innovation Centre is being purpose-built to house a South West Institute of Technology (SWIoT) centre, which will eventually contain an Artificial Intelligence Arena and Computer Learning Laboratory, through which the University will deliver exciting technical education in digital and advanced engineering, and expand its apprenticeship training. The building is scheduled for completion in August 2021.

The new centre will be accredited by BREEAM, the international scheme which provides independent third-party certification of a building’s sustainability performance, and will be equipped with 31 solar PV panels, taking advantage of the building’s south-facing aspect, which over the course of a year will provide around 10,000kWh of power, the equivalent of running 33 refrigerators or powering nearly three houses for a whole year.

The walls, flooring and roof of the building have been designed in such a way as to limit the transfer of heat (known as the ‘U value’), thus saving energy, improving efficiency, and ensuring that the U value rate will be significantly better than standard building regulations.

Additionally, the building will employ ‘variable refrigerant flow’ (VRF), meaning that in the winter, the cooling of the centre’s server room will provide heating to the rest of the building.

A further feature of the new building will see a green roof and new landscaping installed, which will be partly accessible so that building-users can enjoy the many benefits of spending time outside. A green roof works to improve storm water management and reduce rainwater runoff; improves air quality; insulates the building; and plays its part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, the green roof will incorporate a wildflower meadow, which will act as a magnet for pollinating insects, creating a habitat which further enhances biodiversity on the campus.

Sustainability is also a key consideration during the construction period. Precast offsite manufacture has been used to reduce wastage of materials on site, and as the project is BREEAM accredited, only FSC graded timber is being used in the building. In total, 80% of the materials used on the building project come from within 40 miles, reducing the construction carbon footprint. It is hoped that by adopting an extensive range of environmental initiatives, the completed SWIoT Building will receive an “excellent” rating from BREEAM, which would place the SWIoT building in the top 10% of new non-domestic buildings in the UK.

Date: 2 February 2021

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