Improved insulation in buildings and lighting and computers which radiate less heat are paving the way for greener, more efficient ways of keeping offices cool. Dulwich College, founded in 1619, wanted to house its new science facilities in a sustainable building that would enhance teaching and learning, while planning requirements stipulated on-site renewable energy generation that would reduce carbon emissions by 20% compared to levels that comply with current Building Regulations.
We designed a thermo active building system with borehole cooling, which uses less energy than chillers, to maintain the temperature within 18 labs at a comfortable level. Water extracted from an aquifer deep underneath the school is circulated through embedded pipework and regulates internal temperatures through interaction with the thermal mass of the building. Energy consumption is further reduced by roof-mounted photovoltaic panels, automated lighting, and control panels in each classroom enabling staff to use the building’s systems to maximum effect.
Our solution, believed to be the first installed in a UK school, is four times more energy efficient than conventional air conditioning and has enabled the laboratory to achieve an excellent rating under the BREEAM sustainability assessment method for buildings. The design provides opportunities for learning, while additional educational value is derived from an energy dashboard which enables students to see the real-time benefits being delivered by the in-built technology. The building has reinvigorated science teaching within Dulwich College and will support efforts to extend outreach activities with local schools and the community.