The University of Bradford’s origins go back to 1832, when The Mechanics Institute was set up to meet the city’s growing need for workers with cutting-edge skills.
Today, the University gathers together 10,000 students from 110 nations and, with its ethos of ‘making knowledge work’, is the number one university for graduate employment in the north of England and number two in the UK.
The University of Bradford continually invests in its campus to provide a worldclass teaching and learning environment and state-of-the-art facilities designed to the highest sustainability standards. In autumn 2013, it opened The Bright Building, a monolithic hemp and timber frame building that utilises a range of recycled materials and incorporates a variety of renewable energy technologies.
The building received a BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology) ‘Outstanding’ rating and, at the time of award, had the highest BREEAM design stage assessment on record of 94.95%.
According to the consultant engineer on the project, James Allister of Silcock Leedham, a major factor in the building’s success is its natural ventilation system, which allows fresh air into the building space while, at the same time, removing stale air through passive means, such as wind and pressure differences.
He said: “In order to use the fewest possible electromechanical interventions, The Bright Building has been carefully designed so that its physics drive everything – not the engineering. It’s fully naturally ventilated, using WindowMaster technology from Trend integrated into a Building Energy Management System (BEMS). In addition to the lower investment costs as a result of having no mechanical ventilation (MV) plant, there is a reduction in on-going lifecycle costs and less technology to service and maintain.”
Naturally ventilated buildings consume as much as 50% less electricity than ones with mechanical ventilation (MV) plants, according to The Carbon Trust, and produce 40% less CO2 (source: The Danish Technological Institute).
In order to work effectively in all prevailing conditions, the ventilation can be swung from North to South depending on environmental factors such as outside air temperature, humidity, rain, wind and CO2.
This is important, for with each person exhaling 10-75 litres of carbon dioxide and around 175g of water vapour per hour, air quality can deteriorate quickly.
The WindowMaster system used in The Bright Building features MotorLink actuator technology, which allows window positions to be controlled and monitored with unrivalled accuracy, as well as providing near silent operation and enhanced levels of safety and security.
Trend project manager Ian Knapton said: “Millimetre by millimetre control achieves the most effective natural ventilation, as a window that is open too wide or too little will actually impede the ventilation of a space. By using a graphical real-time user interface, it is possible for the University of Bradford’s facilities management team to view the exact position of any window and receive an early indication of possible faults, as well as showing if the controls have been over-ridden. There is a security benefit, too, as a signal can be sent to confirm that all or selected windows are fully closed outside normal working hours.”
Paul Lambourne, mechanical project manager at the University of Bradford, is delighted with the results. “As well as low running costs, reduced energy consumption, low maintenance and lower initial cost, it is also healthier for occupants and allows the building to work in harmony with the natural environment,” he said.
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