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Centre for Sustainable Chemistry

Last certified on:
Certification level: Platinum

Project info

Size48,438 sq ft
The GSK Carbon Neutral Laboratories for Sustainable Chemistry is now housed in a brand new carbon neutral laboratory, the first of its kind in the UK. Partially funded by a generous donation from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the building is a hub that will catalyse new collaborations with industry. The Centre has achieved a LEED Platinum certification and has also been certified as BREEAM Excellent, the highest tier of certification possible under BREEAM. Chemistry has been carried out in dusty, traditional but not particularly efficient buildings that consume disproportionate amounts of both water and electricity. By design, the CNL aims to cut these to an absolute minimum, slashing operational costs and minimising the carbon footprint of all activities in terms of both teaching and research. The project features innovative energy saving strategies, such as renewable and low carbon sources including the PV array covering 45 percent of the roof area and sustainable biofuel CHP. Excess energy created by the building will offset embodied carbon of construction over a 25-year pay back and will heat nearby developments on campus. The project integrated energy efficient equipment and laboratory systems into the design. The project achieved 15 credits and five innovation credits under BREEAM Ene 01 and used this as an Alternative Compliance Path to receive full point value for LEED Energy Performance, On-Site Renewable Energy and Green Power credits. Natural ventilation strategies are integrated into the design — in particular the carbon neutral laboratory is naturally ventilated – which is unusual and unique for a laboratory. Fresh air intake and exhaust air discharge are supplied and controlled via the roof mounted wind catchers, which are prominent visual features for the project. The project integrates these lower energy strategies while maintaining a high level of thermal comfort and occupant satisfaction. Thermal modelling was carried out to ensure the internal comfort of the building users. The university also will deliver a post-occupancy satisfaction survey to ensure these goals are met in operation. The project promoted innovation through the creation of a carbon assessment calculator, which focused on life cycle embodied carbon emissions of products. This tool guided early stage specification of sustainable materials for the building and featured timber. Timber was sustainably sourced through PEFC and FSC certification schemes and was used for the frame, walls, and floors. The building has been recognised by the UK Structural Timber Awards 2016 for the innovative use of timber.