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Northern star

Atkins | 10 Dec 2007 | Comments

Northumbria University’s new City Campus East, designed by Atkins, is 40 per cent more energy efficient than most other buildings of its type in the UK. The campus is part of a £136m investment in the Newcastle City Centre site by the university and opened in September 2007. It houses 9,000 students studying at Newcastle Business School, the School of Design and the School of Law. It is also one of the first buildings in Europe to be subjected to – and exceed – new “green” legislation introduced as a result of the Kyoto Treaty.

A clean build: The university recycled 75 per cent of the materials on the new build site, which was itself developed on a brownfield site. Rubble was used to create a sub-base, while all glass and scrap metals were recycled. Ground floor levels were also raised to allow “arisings” to be buried on-site – reducing off-site disposal by 2,500 cubic metres.

Waste not, want not: Among the many “green” features of the new campus are the solar collectors on the roof, which produce hot water, and rain water harvesting to collect the rain-water and use it to flush toilets and urinals.

Let there be light: Natural light is encouraged through a “light well”, which rises above the roof of the Newcastle Business School and the School of Law. This opens up the middle of the space, improving the atmosphere for students and staff, as well as saving energy by reducing the need for artificial lighting.

Forward thinking: “Our new campus is expected to be the first major building of its kind in the country to meet the stringent new ‘green’ regulations,” says Northumbria University vice-chancellor, Professor Kel Fidler, “and we have ensured that the new campus has the capacity to keep up with future technologies, with the option to retrofit photovoltaics in the future, should this renewable technology become more cost effective.”

Sun block: Solar shading or “brise soleil” encircles the buildings in the form of stainless steel mesh panels and aluminium tube arrays. This reduces solar heat build up as well as the need for air conditioning throughout the structure. In addition, translucent material called “Kalwall” has been used on the exterior walls facing into the courtyard to let in light and retain heat.

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