Library design achieves national environmental award

An innovative Aberdeen library design has received a sustainable award in recognition of its environmental credentials.

The University's new library received a Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) award which recognises the UK's top examples of sustainable design. 

The building design has received the highest national rating of Excellent in the Bespoke BREEAM Design and Procurement category (version 2006).

Creating a magnificent new library spearheads the next phase of the University's ambitious investment programme to develop the infrastructure to match its academic aspirations.  The £57 million project is the largest capital fundraising project undertaken to date by the University.

The new library at the University of Aberdeen has been designed to maximise energy efficiency in order to reduce the impact of its construction and operation on the environment and has been assessed as BREEAM Excellent. The BREEAM-rated library building will provide the highest standards in sustainability, disabled access, acoustics, material choices, safety and security.

Professor Christopher Gane, Vice-Principal (Culture and Communities) and Head of the College of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Aberdeen, who is leading the library project, is delighted with the sustainable award and said: "The University's new library has been designed to maximise energy efficiency in order to reduce the impact of its construction and operation on the environment and we have worked closely with the design team and the BREEAM Assessor.  We are pleased to have achieved the rating of Excellent for the proposed new library design, proving that beautiful visuals and outstanding performance can be combined to great affect."  

Some of the library's key design features include:

  • The building utilises a high performance facade, maximising daylight whilst minimising solar gain and heat loss.
  • Efficient systems for heating, cooling and ventilation utilising the existing University Combined Heating and Power (CHP) systems
  • Rainwater harvesting system which collects rainwater and is used to flush WCs
  • Building management system to monitor plant items and energy consumption
  • Low carbon technologies and passive renewables to reduce energy demands and reduce carbon footprint.
  • Roof mounted array of monocrystalline solar collectors, with 130m2 of panels providing 15,000 kWh/year of electrical output.  This is predicted to save 8,500kg/ year of CO2

Angus Donaldson, Director of Estates at the University of Aberdeen, said: "The design of the new library has been developed within the framework of the BREEAM system with the aim of achieving an Excellent rating. The University recognises the need to incorporate opportunities for sustainable development into our construction projects and this is the second University new building to go through the BREEAM process and be successful in achieving an Excellent rating.

"The new library showcases the ability of the University to develop buildings where sustainable issues are given high priority throughout the design process.  The design elements of the library are setting a high benchmark for future construction projects undertaken by the University."

Martin Townsend, Director of BREEAM at BRE Global, added: "Achieving BREEAM Excellent for the new library is a real achievement. The building scores particularly well in the Transport, Water and Management sections of BREEAM and will be an excellent demonstration for staff, students and visitors alike of a design which incorporates high sustainability principles."

Construction of the library building begins on site in summer 2009 with completion late summer 2011. The new library will be available to students, staff and local communities.