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Aiming for environment capital status

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The new AB Agri building in Peterborough has been hailed as a showcase for energy-saving and reduced carbon footprint design and is a benchmark development in Peterborough's ‘Environment Capital' ambitions.

The building combines locally provided architecture by David Turnock Associates and building services engineering by Cunnington Clark to deliver a low-energy building solution.

Cunnington Clark was part of the project team from the outset, designing the building's services to meet low-carbon and renewable-energy targets and helping to deliver a building that works as it was intended. The firm, led by company director and industry specialist in sustainable engineering design, David Clark, designed low carbon and renewable energy solutions to control energy use, water use and the internal environment while also minimising pollutants and emissions that are part and parcel of building services.

The energy-efficient temperature control system uses a heat recovery VRF pump system with local temperature controls to disperse heat reclaimed from one part of the system to another. The system manages both heating and cooling requirements, negating the need for radiators and a separate air-conditioning system. The modular ventilation supply and extract ventilation units use high efficiency plates to achieve heat exchanges for up to 70% heat recovery. The system uses occupancy control technology to reduce energy use to toilets and supplementary ventilation systems. Energy efficient light fittings, with daylight dimming controls that react to the level of natural daylight, ensure office areas maintain optimum lighting levels at all times while reducing energy consumption. Movement sensors mean areas of the building not continuously occupied, such as toilets, stores and meeting areas, are only lit when in use.

External lighting is controlled by daylight sensing/time switch control panel. The building uses solar shading on the south-facing façade to reduce direct sunlight and so minimise the use of energy required to cool the building. The same panels are used to gain solar benefit in the winter.

Water consumption is also reduced thanks to a rainwater recovery system that stores water from the roof and then distributes it for flushing toilets.

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