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Harnessing what nature provides to a high-tech engineering development

Interview

ANDY KEYS, as Amec's in-house environmental consultant, was involved early on in a joint research and design programme between Amec and Loughborough University involving two new buildings to house the latter's Manufacturing and Aeronautical Departments.

The University wanted buildings that were sensitive to the environment yet responsive to the diverse nature of engineering developments. A three- pronged brief covering environmental issues, aesthetics and flexibility was developed.

Natural ventilation was utilised through most of the buildings, apart from certain test facilities. Other marginal areas were assessed using computational fluid dynamics.

In addition to a raft of other sustainable and energy saving features, life-cycle costing values were used to select materials where low maintenance and long life was essential.

The University's own group of experts reviewed a 'grey water' recovery system but finally dropped the idea as not being viable.