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The Devonshire Building is a flagship environmental building for the University of Newcastle and is home to laboratories and office spaces for the University’s multidisciplinary Environmental and e-Science Research Centre.

From the outset of the project it was decided that the building should demonstrate and achieve the highest possible environmental and sustainable design targets. The building has high quality fi nishes and has an annual energy demand approximately 30% lower than the UK best practice targets at the time of construction in 2004. It was the first university laboratory building to achieve a BREEAM Excellent rating.


Within the building, there are a number of different spaces, ranging from the closely controlled laboratories to a central atrium with passive environmental controls. The following measures have been incorporated to reduce the energy load of the building:

façade engineering - The façade is highly glazed, which enhances the availability of daylight in the building. To avoid overheating and an excessive cooling load, motorised shading has been included.

heating and cooling - Cooling is provided via an active beam system, using free cooling from a thermal water storage tank within the ground via a series of plate heat exchangers. Heat from the office spaces and cold rooms is rejected into a 40,000 litre geothermal water tank. A conventional chiller is provided as a back-up and the heating plant is fully condensing and utilises low water temperatures to maximise heat recovery.

lighting - Movement and daylight sensors are used in the lighting controls to minimise waste.

natural ventilation - The office areas have automatically controlled openable windows for ventilation and for night purge cooling.

photovoltaic panels: - 184m2 of PV cells have been installed on the roof and have a peak output of 25kW.

BEMS (Building Energy Management System) - A fully functional, graphics driven BEMS has been provided to facilitate fully automatic control of the building and its systems.

Project team

University of Newcastle Upon Tyne

The Dewjo’c Partnership


White Young Green

Shepherd Engineering Services

Further information