The project to refurbish Ashburton Court demonstrates the County Council’s support for transforming a poor quality and energy inefficient 1960’s office building into a modern 21st Century building containing a new working environment for around 1100 staff. Right from its launch, one of the principal aims of the refurbishment was to reduce the energy consumption (and therefore the ‘carbon footprint’) by at least 50% on a like-for-like floor area basis. There was also a range of other sustainable initiatives incorporated into the design and the following initiatives and actions were taken:
The first briefing document on the project required sustainable themes to be addressed and integrated. The Project Team were appointed on the basis of their track record for being at the leading edge nationally on low energy office buildings.
An innovative approach to ventilating the building, principally by natural means, was designed and implemented. This used wind-driven passive technologies to keep the building cool in summer, taking advantage of the thermal mass of the existing concrete frame.
A large proportion of demolition materials have been recycled through the Contractor’s supply chain. For example, external pre-cast concrete cladding panels were taken off-site for crushing and re-using as aggregate in other projects.
Waste heat from cooling plant required to service the County Council’s Data Centre is being recycled to heat areas of the building in winter.
Solar shading (sun control devices), intelligent lighting systems that switch off when not required and a new thermally efficient building envelope, all contribute to achieving very significant energy savings.
The Carbon Trust is using the project as a national case study and both pre-refurbishment and post-completion monitoring was undertaken to ensure that energy targets were met. Occupying staff have also been surveyed, both before and after the works, to confirm that comfort conditions and the working environment were much improved.
By increasing the floor area of the building after refurbishment and applying flexible working, the County Council will accommodate around 500 more staff in the building. This will enable the County Council to dispose of other offices in Winchester which will reduce significantly both energy consumption and maintenance liabilities of the built estate.
Water saving devices in toilets and washrooms have been installed in the project to keep consumption within previous levels despite nearly doubling the occupancy
The project will be completed and occupied in the Summer of 2009 and a programme of monitoring and feedback is planned to ensure that the design targets established are met and that learning is shared with both Hampshire staff and also other authorities who are benefiting from the experience in undertaking similar projects to rationalise and improve their built estate.
The project will achieve the government's 2050 target for carbon reduction well ahead of time.