UK’s First BREEAM Excellent Education Refurbishment Project

Danielle Wynn
Faithful+Gould has helped to deliver the first education building in the UK to achieve the BREEAM 'Excellent' rating.

Previously a 1960’s workshop building, the now named Brundtland Building, part of Bedford College has been redesigned and refurbished into a state-of-the-art low carbon demonstration centre as part of the Sustainability Efficiency East (SEE) Project.

The Brundtland Building is being showcased as an exemplar project illustrating the use and application of alternative energy technologies and energy efficient techniques such as:

  • A highly insulated envelope and solar control glazing to prevent overheating during the summer

  • Intelligent controls to optimise system performance and minimise energy use

  • River water cooling

  • Photovoltaic solar panels

  • Solar thermal panels for hot water

  • Vertical axis wind turbine

  • Rainwater harvesting

  • Wind turbine on the roof

As the lead cost advisor and life cycle cost analyst Faithful+Gould embedded their team into the whole project team working alongside the contractor (Morgan Sindall), the Estates Director and Project Manager from Bedford College, engineers, (Scott White Hookins) and the architectural team (Archial) who also undertook the BREEAM assessments to ensure a collaborative approach in this sustainable and community-led project.

"Working with the Bedford College team has been fun and rewarding. It was an exciting project to be involved with..."

Alison Wring, Faithul+Gould’s Regional Director and Project Director

Alison Wring, Faithul+Gould’s project director commented: "Working with the Bedford College team has been fun and rewarding. It was an exciting project to be involved with, working on the boundaries of something that hasn’t been achieved before. Whilst there were challenges on time and working in a live environment, our cost advice de-risked the impact of the project extending its deadline and supported the college in generating considerable VAT savings due to the extent of the improved thermal efficiency of the building and enhanced DDA requirements that were being implemented.”

The project was completed in 2012, but confirmation of the BREEAM rating has only recently been announced. Following the completion of the new building, as part of their community commitment, the project team and leaders from each company dedicated their own time to support media students from Bedford College with their final project to achieve their NVQ qualification. Each team leader was invited to a formal interview in a room specially prepared by the students with cameras, lighting and sound equipment. A newsreel was produced alongside a newspaper article which the college shared in its end of year newsletter to all students.

Alison added: "Despite knowing the college and the team very well by this stage of the project, the studio set-up the students had created was very nerve-racking, they were extremely professional and did not avoid asking awkward questions! I’m proud to say I was involved in this transformational project. It was a great opportunity to help the students, who had lived through the revolution of the building, to utilise an experience so close to them to reach further in their career aspirations."

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