The award-winning Bramall Learning Centre at the Royal Horticultural Society's gardens at Harlow Carr is designed to provide education facilities for more than 10,000 children every year. It is also a 'carbon neutral' building, with an exceptional BREEAM score of 88.51%. Its form, materials and servicing are integrated to provide optimum energy performance.
The one and two storey Centre is located on a sloping site on the eastern boundary of the gardens, earth bermed to integrate it into the existing contours. The structure is curved in both plan and section and incorporates a number of sustainability measures. The glazed south elevation gives the interiors a light airy feel on both levels.
The materials used include recycled aggregate, cement replacement, air dried clay blocks and blocks made with recycled aggregate and cement replacement. FSC-approved laminated timber frames have been used for the roofs.
The building is linked to a 15kW wind turbine and a ground source heat pump that works in conjunction with five 100m-deep boreholes. Extensive use is made of natural ventilation and night time purging, making us of the thermal mass of the interior walls and floors.
Working with low carbon design specialists Eco Arc Architects, our engineers and consultants provided structural, building services, drainage and sustainability engineering for the project it. Just prior to opening, the Centre was showcased as an exemplary energy efficient building, playing host to a construction industry knowledge-sharing seminar and site tour.