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A simulation of the new 4West building - click to enlarge image
A simulation of the new 4West building - click to enlarge image

Press Release - 16 March 2006

Plans for high-tech environmentally-friendly building on University campus announced

Plans for a new environmentally-advanced building to replace 4West have been unveiled by the University of Bath.

The University is aiming for an “excellent” rating from a widely-used environmental assessment system for the new building, a five-storey structure for 250 people costing £15 million.

The Building Research Establishment (BRE) uses an assessment method which looks at the energy and water use in the building, its materials, the pollution it may create and the ecology of the environment.

To meet BRE’s standards, the new building has greater insulation levels than construction regulations call for, and also a heat recovery system to reduce the heat use to around a quarter of the original 4West building.

It will also have passive ventilation and a large number of opening windows to allow natural heat loss and give people control over their workspace. A solar hot water system is being installed to reduced energy bills.

One particular feature of the building is the proposed installation of an air distribution pipework in the concrete ceilings to augment the natural cooling process. This would be the first time the system, pioneered in Germany, has been installed in a UK construction project.

The new building will help in the University’s target of reducing carbon dioxide emissions from campus by 12.5 per cent from 2003-2010.

Planning permission has recently been given by Bath and North East Somerset Council and building work will begin in July 2006 and be completed by 2008.

The new building will be occupied by several University departments and will have lecture space for 210 people.

The building, which has 5,400 square metres of office space, can be extended in another three phases. Phase two could involve a building just to the south of the new construction. Phase three could be a small building to the west and Phase Four a building directly to the south of Wessex House. This would add another 6,800 square metres.

The University’s Estates Director, Patrick Finch, said: “The new 4West will be built with environmental considerations very much in mind. The fact that energy bills are targeted to be 25 to 30 per cent of those of the previous building shows what using contemporary design and construction techniques can achieve – this is a benchmark for future development.”

The project managers and cost consultants are Gleeds; the architects are Allies and Morrison; the service engineers are Roger Preston and Partners; the civil and structural engineers are Whitby Bird and the sustainability engineers are Energy for Sustainable Development. Most of the cost of the building will be met from the Higher Education Funding Council for England's capital funding allocation.

• Next month's edition of Insider magazine will carry more details of who will occupy 4West and how the building will be used.

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