Mario Cucinella's completed building for Nottingham University sets the standard for sustainable energy research
The main function Cucinella's newly opened building is to provide a specialist research laboratory for staff and postgraduate
students within the new Centre for Sustainable Energy Technologies. The tower incorporates a research studio / teaching room and resource room, as well as offices, meeting rooms and a permanent display space. The exhibition space will provide a platform for communicating the latest developments in sustainable energy and
construction technologies, both regionally in China and internationally.
The new building will provide laboratory, office and seminar accommodation and has been designed to
serve as an exemplary building, demonstrating state-of-the-art techniques for environmentally
responsible, sustainable construction and energy efficient internal environmental control. It has been
designed to minimise its environmental impact by promoting energy efficiency, generating its own
energy from renewable sources, and using locally available materials with low embodied energy
The residual heating, cooling and ventilation load is estimated to be so low that demands for both these and electrical power required for computing and lighting will be met from renewable
energy sources, including a ground source heat pump, solar absorption cooling and photovoltaic panels.
The spaces within the building have been configured to support a number
and ventilation strategies, as a demonstration of alternatives to conventional systems.
It has also been designed to respond to the diurnal and seasonal variation in the
climate of Ningbo, to minimize heating requirement in winter and cooling in summer, promoting natural ventilation in spring and autumn when environmental conditions allow. The building is
therefore well insulated, incorporates high thermal capacitance internal floors and walls, and
a ventilated glazed south façade.
During the summer, when it is both hot and humid, it is necessary to de-humidify and cool the supply air, and the
electrical power for this is provided by the photovoltaic system.
The building has been designed to exploit day lighting as far as possible, while avoiding glare and solar
heat gain. This reduces the amount of time for which artificial lighting is required. The photovoltaic system will be used to provide artificial lighting and small power for office equipment such as computers, fax machines, etc. During the peak period of sunshine enough power shall be produced
from the PV system to run other equipment such as the lift and the mechanical ventilation and chilled
water systems. In the event of extra power not being utilised, it shall be stored in batteries or
transferred to the nearby sport centre.