The BRE building is the first building to use, as part of the design brief, one Performance Specification drawn up by the Energy Efficient Office of the future (EOF) Group, a partnership between BRE, manufacturers designers, fuel utilities and other building professionals. The building has achieved the highest possible BREEAM rating.
Selected for this unique building, Warmafloor supplied and installed an underfloor cooling system which is fitted with the building slab. A key part of the specification was the need to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions by 30% compared with contemporary low energy buildings. Warmafloor were appointed to design, supply and install an underfloor cooling system to help them meet their targets. The building is controlled by a dedicated Building Management System (BMS), but the occupants also have control of their local environment (temperature, ventilation, louvre position and lighting levels). Any adjustments made are reset at midnight. This provides a balance between energy efficiency and occupant comfort.
The low energy Warmafloor system utilises ground water at 13°C which is pumped from the earth through the embedded Warmafloor pipe coils providing any additional cooling that is necessary. BRE’s Environmental Building provides a model for offices for the 21st Century. Innovative and environmentally advanced, it demonstrates the way for the future based on a platform of new low-energy targets.
An experimental building for the future
Research and monitoring criteria were developed at the planning stage, and performance assessment, which has run from the outset, is continuing after occupation.
The building not only provides a working office with low energy consumption in use, but also to serve as a large-scale experimental facility for evaluating various innovative technologies. The Performance Specification, a key element of the building brief, dictates performance targets for energy consumption and carbon dioxide (CO²) emissions, represent a 30% improvement.
However, energy efficiency is only acceptable when the design leads to a comfortable, healthy working environment. Consequently, the EOF Performance Specification considers thermal, visual and aural comfort, environmental health issues; and indoor air quality.