When the Borough Council of King's Lynn in Norfolk was obliged to consider new accommodation there was a commitment to create a building which was exemplary in both aesthetic and environmental terms. The Borough Council took its obligations under Agenda 21 extremely seriously.
King's Lynn is a tight-knit town with buildings spanning from the twelfth to twenty-first centuries. The new offices occupy a corner site close to a Grade 1 listed church. Jeremy Stacey Architects were commissioned to produce a design which acknowledged the visual 'grain' of the town whilst offering an environmental performance which would place it amongst the leaders in ecological design (see Fig. 15.10).
The fabric of the building achieves well above Regulations standards for thermal efficiency:
Ground floor 0.16
Windows triple glazed 1.7
with integral Venetian blinds with integral Venetian blinds
Careful detailing achieves an air infiltration rate of 5m3/hr/m2 of the building envelope at 50 Pa.
For ventilation the technology chosen was the Termodeck system in which ducts are incorporated into the concrete floor planks (see Chapter 3). One hundred per cent fresh air is mechanically supplied to each room with the corridors used as return air ducts. Condensing boilers provide heat for the air handling system. This unit also ensures that 90% of the heat in exhaust air is recovered. In summer, night-time cooling of the fabric keeps the daytime temperature to within 3°C of the normal set control temperature for refrigeration-based systems. Exposed ceiling soffits provide the radiant cooling. All this means that there is virtually no maintenance burden associated with the ventilation, heating and cooling of the offices. The occupants have additional control over ventilation by being able to open windows.
The running costs of the offices stand at about one quarter those for a fully air conditioned equivalent which reinforces the axiom that green buildings really do pay.
This is a building which combines excellence of urban design with the level of commitment to ecological imperatives which must become universal if buildings are ever to shed their image as the key drivers of global warming through their associated CO2 emissions. It also happens to be a well-conceived aesthetic contribution to the fabric of a historic town.
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