Higher education needs more high performance buildings – to improve flexibility and user satisfaction and reduce carbon emissions
Two new reports argue that many new buildings in universities and colleges could be ‘unfit for purpose’ in the fast changing, market driven and low carbon world of the future. They argue that design is often failing to take full account of future requirements or, when it does, is often not translated into practice. The result includes excessively high operating costs for many decades.
The reports advocate more high performance’ buildings, whose features include: high adaptability through smart layouts and modular structures; natural lighting and ventilation to provide striking, comfortable and healthy environments for users; low energy and water consumption, and limited carbon footprints; and high use of renewable, non-toxic, and recycled materials.
The first report demonstrates the business benefits of such buildings, which include considerably lower costs for energy, water and maintenance (due to reduced scale equipment and / or less complex building services); reduced risks of unaffordable rises in energy bills, inflexible buildings that are difficult to adapt to changing requirements, or employee ill
The second report provides a road map with checklists for how they can be delivered in practice.
The guides have been jointly prepared by HEEPI, Sust and Thirdwave, and endorsed by key sector bodies such as AUDE, BUFDG, EAUC, HEFCE and the SFC.
Peter Kerr, Director of Estates at Heriot-Watt University, and Chair of AUDE, believes that
“Increasing uncertainty and insecurity of energy supplies, and challenging Government targets to reduce carbon emissions, make it essential that new build and refurbishments in universities and colleges are more sustainable. This guide shows how this might be achieved, and in ways that enhance rather than jeopardise their total performance for staff and students. It is required reading for anyone making decisions about the academic estate.”