Students learn how energy can be saved

SUSTAINABILITY is at the heart of GWP Architecture’s project to provide student accommodation for the University of Bradford.

The Green, as it is known, certainly lives up to its name, as environmental considerations are embedded throughout.

The accommodation, which comprises of more than 1,000 study bedrooms in townhouse and cluster flat formation, was designed with the university’s sustainable policies in mind. It also includes a hub building accommodating communal laundry facilities, offices and student facilities, and an energy centre building housing energy services plant and equipment.

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The architects ensured that the design reflected a highly insulated, airtight building envelope to minimise the need for space heating.

The largest energy load is heating water for washing and this is addressed by the provision of solar thermal renewable energy. Other energy requirements are dealt with by small combined heat and power (CHP) unit within the energy centre.

Meanwhile, energy and water consumption is metered down to townhouse or cluster flat level, with real time displays linked to the building management system (BMS), so students can be informed of their utility usage.

They can also access information on what utilities they used in previous periods and compare these with other best performing houses or clusters on campus.

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The Green’s residential blocks are constructed using sustainable and responsibly source panelised timber frame systems, and vegetable planting areas are provided for students.

Meanwhile, rainwater harvesting provides more than 50 per cent of the development’s toilet flushing requirements. Lighting, both internal and external, is energy efficient.

The judges liked the fact that the project was completed in an educational context, where students were exposed to environment endeavour and informed of its benefits. They also said they were impressed by what they have seen from Bradford University in terms of its attitude towards running its estate.

The site, identified as a city centre regeneration site, saw GWP Architecture, which has an office in Leeds, achieve a rating of outstanding from BREEAM – the international rating system for sustainable buildings. It scored 95.05 per cent at design stage – the highest BREEAM assessed credit score to date.

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The development was funded by joint venture partners Welbeck Land and Hayaat Group, with support from the University of Bradford, Yorkshire Forward and Bradford council.

Chris Guyatt, project architect, said: “We’re very pleased to win. It’s taken a long time – the initial design stage started in 2007.”

Richard Townend, a director, said sustainability adds value and is not an add-on.