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HARPER ADAMS AT FOREFRONT OF NEW SUSTAINABILITY INITIATIVE

Posted 6 November 2003

A NEW LEARNING RESOURCES CENTRE recently opened at Harper Adams University College, Shropshire, is at the forefront of a new government initiative for ‘environmentally friendly’ buildings.

The pioneering building, which houses Harper Adams’ library, open access IT facilities and a JCB sponsored Engineering Design Centre, fulfils many of the recently established government criteria for improving the environmental performance of new buildings.

These criteria include better environmental performance in water usage, energy usage, the use of timber and other construction materials and waste reduction.

In a speech to the Better Buildings Summit on Tuesday, October 21, 2003, The Rt Hon Margaret Beckett MP, Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, laid down the criteria for a new Sustainable Buildings Task Group which will look at incentives for environmental innovation and spread best practice among designers, builders and other professions.

Harper Adams’ building features a computer-controlled environmental management package that operates a natural ventilation system and other energy saving measures to reduce electricity and gas consumption.

In addition, the building uses rainwater harvesting to supply water to the lavatory system, while excavated soil from the construction site was re-used to build an off-road vehicle test track for Harper Adams’ Engineering Department rather than being disposed of in landfill.

But where this building is different is in its use of timber, which has been extensively employed in the construction of the first floor structural frame.

A spokesman for Harper Adams University College said: “We are pleased to think that the innovative mix of new technology and traditional materials in our Learning Resources Centre comprehensively reflects the best-practice building approach set out by the Government.

“This is also a timely development in the light of the recent publication by the DFES of the Sustainable Development Action Plan for Education and Skills, and shows how the Higher Education sector is actively addressing sustainability issues.”

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