Environment action at the PCFE began in 1997 with the primary objectives of:

• Developing an ‘environment culture’ – making resource-effi ciency and
waste minimisation a part of the daily activities of staff and students;
• Proving that environment improvement costs need not be higher than
similar, lesser environment- friendly alternatives;
• Demonstrating that environment management is good business.
In 1997, PCFE commissioned a feasibility study to assess the interest of industry,
especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), in the establishment of a
centre for environment excellence and/or an environment-management advisory
bureau to provide guidance on environment management. Manadon Associates, a
local consultant with a strong environment bias, carried out the study. The results
showed that an environment advisory bureau would receive strong support across
all industry sectors.
“The role of the bureau will develop with time, but it needs to provide a highquality,
professional and independent service that responds to the needs of SMEs.
The bureau should be housed in a purpose-built unit which should incorporate
examples of good practice relevant to SMEs.”
Paul Barton, Manadon Associates.
Following further consultations within PCFE, as well as with industry, local
government and other organisations, PCFE decided to construct an environmentexemplary
building to house the environment advisory bureau as well as a number
of existing departments with space constraints. Funding for the new building is
being provided by PCFE, with additional support from the European Union and the
Further Education Funding Council.
Kay Elliott Architects and Hoare Lea & Partners, Consulting Engineers, were
selected to design the building.
The building will consist of 2,000m2 of teaching, exhibition, offi ce and refectory
areas and associated ancillary space. It is to be sited in an existing car park and
linked to surrounding buildings at the ground and fi rst-fl oor levels.
The design objectives are to:
• Develop a low-maintenance but usable and comfortable building that
provides for the fl exible use of space;
• Achieve low-energy consumption and low/zero emissions;
• Provide environment conditions within acceptable tolerance levels
for each activity to be undertaken within the building;
• Apply cutting-edge technology to provide low-complexity
design solutions;
• Use current building materials and construction techniques;
• Produce replicable concepts for small businesses;
• Achieve all of the above within the cost limit for equivalent comparable
buildings: £850 per square metre.
Some of the key ‘green’ design features are listed below:
• The south-facing facade will be maximised, with minimum facades
facing the southeast and southwest. Such a building orientation is
needed to maximise the control of solar gain. It was designed based on
a number of studies including the annual/daily sun path at the latitude
of the site, 51.7°N.
• At the core of the design is a south-facing facade; a massive
heavyweight structure which will act as a thermal storage unit for heat
or cold depending on the season. It will slow down the transfer of heat
from outside to inside and help moderate temperature fluctuations
inside the building.

“It is our intention to produce a building that will influence future building design and demonstrate that environment-intelligent initiatives are cost-effective and good for business. We are also in the process of developing an environment management programme, following a preliminary environment review, which was completed in May 1999. A lot of planning goes into our work, for we want to be absolutely certain that it will result in genuine environment improvement. Environment stewardship is not about piece-meal efforts and short terms gains, but longer-term accountability.”

J. Gilbert Snook, Head of Estates

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