|Elizabeth Fry Building still as good?|
|Friday, 07 October 2011 11:58|
When the Elizabeth Fry Building at University of East Anglia (UEA) was studied in detail after it opened in 1995, the journal reporting the study came with a cover asking: “The best building ever?”
Build with CaRe has been looking into the manner in which the Elizabeth Fry Building was commission in order to understand how barriers to successful construction and operation of low-energy buildings can be overcome. Elizabeth Fry was UEA’s first Termodeck building - hollowcore concrete slabs help maintain stable internal temperatures and occupant comfort - and the most recently completed such building at the University is the Thomas Paine Study Centre, one of Build with CaRe’s exemplar buildings. The principles are described in the Build with CaRe note on UEA’s low energy buildings.
Very good air-tightness is essential if low-energy use is to be achieved and the Elizabeth Fry Building achieved a very good result during the PROBE team’s testing, described in the Building Services Journal in April 1998. PROBE is short for Post-occupancy Review Of Buildings and their Engineering. More recent buildings built to Passive House standard achieve even better results but we know from some studies done within Build with CaRe that after ten years or more the air-tightness can degrade somewhat meaning the building will become less energy efficient.
As part of the Build with CaRe study of UEA buildings we have been revisiting Elizabeth Fry and finding out how occupant perceptions compare today relative to the excellent response found when the building was new. We have also done another air-tightness test. A big building (over 3000m2) requires a big fan to pressurise it to 50Pa as required for testing. On Sunday, 18 September the BSRIA Fan Rover arrived at UEA to conduct another air-tightness test (BSRIA is the Building Services Research and Information Association). The pictures show the fan arriving at UEA and installed at the back of the Elizabeth Fry Building ready to test.
The results of both studies, on air tightness and on occupant perception will be available shortly along with an analysis of energy use.
Read more about the UEA’s low energy buildings and the termodeck system in this article by Martin Ingham.