The Environment Centre Wales building in Bangor has won the 2009 Sustainability Award from RICS Wales. It will now represent Wales in the international finals of the prestigious awards in October.

Exterior of Environment Centre Wales building Officially opened in 2008 by Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the building houses the Environment Centre for Wales, a partnership venture between the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) and Bangor University. The Centre enables environmental scientists from the two organisations to work more closely, providing a focal point for environmental research and training in Wales. This also presents fresh research opportunities spanning environmental sciences, to develop new sustainable approaches to managing both the land and sea. 

Professor Bridget Emmett, CEH's Bangor Head of Site, said the project had provided a distinguished architectural contribution to Bangor's townscape, while attractive local slate and native oak cladding from sustainable woodlands reflected the building's environment.

"It sits in landscaped grounds with native tree species, native grassland and wild flowers. Sustainability runs through every aspect of this building, from the science that goes on inside, to recycling," Professor Emmett added.

The building was designed and built with the environment in mind. All the materials used were selected for their low environmental cost and the highest standard of durability.

Its design enables around 50% of its heat, light and electricity to be generated by natural means. Photovoltaic panels on the roof generate electricity from sunlight, and a ground-source heat pump air-conditions the building using minimal energy. A combined heat and power plant increases the efficiency of the use of fossil fuels for heating and hot water.

Extensive rainwater harvesting provides a constant supply of grey water to all toilets and services which do not require treated water, while passive ventilation throughout the building ensures the more effective use of heat and more efficient cooling in summer.

The design also facilitates interaction and addressed the needs and wishes of the people who work in the building for natural light and better ventilation.

Built in 2007 at a cost of £5.8M, the building was designed to comply with the highest environmental assessment rating from the Building Research Establishment (BRE) for its design and construction elements. Additional funding was invested by CEH's parent body, the Natural Environment Research Council, to demonstrate many aspects of environmental and sustainable construction.

Additional information/links

A press release was issued to announce this story.

More information about the building can be found on the Environment Centre Wales website.

Details of CEH's work at its Bangor research site.

CEH news items about Environment Centre Wales

New 'Environment Centre Wales' Opened - 15 February 2008