North Somerset Council’s complete refurbishment of the existing 4 storey, 1970s-built Town Hall by Wilmott Dixon and designed by another WECC member Alec French Architects has been named the Public Building Retrofit Project of the Year at the recent Retro Expo awards held at the NEC in Birmingham. Projected reductions in CO₂ emissions by 61% will save North Somerset Council £700,000 in annual running costs and has resulted in a dramatic improvement in the building’s energy performance certificate (EPC) rating from an E to A.
Here’s how they did it:
The energy reduction approach for the project focused on 4 key areas to ensure that real savings for North Somerset Council were maximised:
- Design and construction to achieve significant energy/carbon/operating cost reductions associated with fixed building services.
- Designing and specifying to reduce un-regulated energy usage from server and IT infrastructure and associated cooling.
- Developing an ‘energy budget’ for projected usage in the refurbished building and implementing a programme of in-use monitoring to verify actual savings.
- This major refurbishment was part of the Council Office Amalgamation Programme increasing the occupancy of the Town Hall from approximately 600 staff to an open-plan flexible office space for around 950 Council and partner staff, including the Police. The new design also incorporates the Weston Central Library and an integrated public service gateway.
Key building fabric/services and other equipment improvements which lead to the 61% savings were:
- Installation of 35kWp photovoltaic panel system.
- New server suite with associated high-efficiency dedicated cooling plant.
- Creation of an internal atrium space to transform the internal environment of the office areas and allowing a predominantly natural ventilation approach
- Replacement of all windows with Kawneer AA540 Series (BRE Global Green Guide online generic specification for windows and achieved a summary rating of A*).
- Improvement in fabric air permeability (air-tightness) of the Town Hall to 3.05m³/h/m² at 50 Pa, greatly reducing heat loss.
The judges commented: “The project demonstrates how a major refurbishment of a poor-quality office building can deliver a workplace transformation capable of 21st century needs.”
It is great to see a building that not only shows an absolute commitment to creating an excellent and contemporary space to work in and visit but also one that takes account of their environmental impact. Congratulations to everyone involved in the project, a true story of a retrofit trailblazer really kicking their carbon footprint.
We’re hoping to organise a WECC network event and tour of the Town Hall in Spring 2013!