The emphasis for this project was to reduce the gap between low energy design and in-use building performance. Our approach was being to design a low-tech, low-energy building with high degrees of occupant control and comfort by using both passive and active measure. The building also forms an exemplar showcase building for the Open University developed using robust best practice and lessons learnt from our own, and from the Open University’s, past experiences.
The building passively moderates its internal environment for the comfort of its users through simple yet intelligent design and operational controls. The passive environmental design features include a thermal mass construction, good provision of natural daylight, control of solar gains, natural ventilation and night time cooling, stack effect driven air movement and high levels of thermal insulation. The active environmental measures include renewable energy sources generating electricity by photovoltaic panels, hot water from solar thermal panels and ground source heat pumps. Both passive and active systems have been designed to be integrated and mutually compatible.