The new purpose-built three-storey building has been designed to be energy efficient and have a low environmental impact. Its features include:
- natural ventilation with computer controlled windows;
- an extensive ground-source heat-pump system to cool and heat the building;
- a rainwater harvesting system; and
- a computerised lighting system to reduce electricity consumption.
The whole building is heated and kept cool by one of the largest ground-source heat-pump systems in the country, which consists of nearly 100 boreholes over 90 metres deep connected to heat pumps that can either heat or cool the building, equivalent to nearly one megawatt of electrical consumption.
A rainwater harvesting system collects and recycles rainwater held in a 100 000 litre underground holding tank. This is used to flush all the toilets throughout the buildings and irrigate the site when needed during very dry conditions.
There is a computerised lighting system throughout the building to complement natural daylight from large north-facing floor to ceiling windows. The lighting system responds to levels of external daylight and movement, switching off when not required to reduce electricity consumption. South facing windows are kept to a minimum to reduce solar gain and reduce the need to cool the building in hot weather.
Other environmental initiatives include a large composter to recycle all kitchen waste on site. There are over 375 trees on site to supplement those in the adjacent woodland, and we are maintaining a natural wildlife corridor along the northern perimeter of the site to encourage wildlife in their natural habitat.