St Andrews Medical School secures top green rating

Wednesday 12 August 2009

A new £45 million School of Medicine and the Sciences under construction at the University of St Andrews will be among the most sustainable and environmentally friendly buildings in the UK.

Solar panels, natural ventilation, toilets which flush with rainwater and the widespread use of recycled materials are among the innovations that have earned the new building an “Excellent” sustainability rating under the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method scheme (BREEAM).

Scheduled to admit its first medical students in September 2010, St Andrews’ new School of Medicine and the Sciences will incorporate a unique Interdisciplinary Medical Research Institute bringing medics together with leading researchers in Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Psychology.

It’s believed to be one of the first medical schools in Europe whose facilities have been deliberately integrated with other sciences and key university disciplines in the belief that the greatest research advances will come where subject boundaries meet and cross.

The award of an “Excellent” sustainability rating is the culmination of a design effort which the University began several years ago.

The BREEAM scheme scores buildings on over 70 criteria extending over building design, construction and eventual use. It looks at issues such as the land used, the impact of construction activities, responsible sourcing of materials and the well-being of people working in the building.

Key green features of the new St Andrews School include:

  • The building is well insulated to reduce energy usage and, outwith the lab areas, is provided with natural ventilation to reduce reliance on air conditioning.   Wherever possible, locally sourced materials have been used. A heavy emphasis has been placed on recycled materials. All internal partitions have been formed using a recycled product to avoid using traditional plasterboard, which has a high CO2 cost in its production.
  • To limit water use, rainwater will be recovered from the roof and held in a 50,000 litre tank buried in the courtyard.  This ‘grey’ water will then provide flushing water for the toilet cisterns, which are themselves low-usage units.
  • A large Combined Heat and Power Engine will be installed in the boiler room of the adjacent Physics building.  This gas-powered engine will generate enough electricity to meet the needs of both the new Medical School and the Physics building.  A by-product of this engine is heat.  Rather than vent this to atmosphere as a waste product, this heat will, via heat exchangers, provide heating for both buildings.In summer, when cooling is required, the same heat will be used – via absorption chillers – to provide cooling capacity.  This system of providing power, heat and cooling, known as tri-generation, will mean a great reduction in the need for conventionally generated electricity.
  • The roof space will house an array of solar thermal panels.  Designed to match the solar radiation levels normal in Fife, this system will provide all domestic hot water for the building without any CO2 emissions.

Professor Neville Richardson, Vice-Principal for Research at St Andrews, said,

“I am delighted with this recognition of the excellent green credentials of our new School of Medicine and the Sciences.

“It again demonstrates that as a University we have a very real commitment to reducing carbon emissions from our activities wherever possible.

“Those staff and students fortunate enough to occupy this building will be taking the University forward into a new, sustainable age.”


Issued by the Press Office, University of St Andrews
Contact Niall Scott on 01334 462244, mobile 07711 223 062, or email [email protected]
Ref: BREEAM award 120809
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