Centre for Sustainable Energy Technologies that located in Ningbo, China, was designed by Mario Cucinella Architects. The main function Cucinella’s newly opened building is to provide a specialist research laboratory for staff and postgraduate students within the new Centre for Sustainable Energy Technologies. The tower incorporates a research studio / teaching room and resource room, as well as offices, meeting rooms and a permanent display space. The exhibition space will provide a platform for communicating the latest developments in sustainable energy and construction technologies, both regionally in China and internationally.
The new building will provide laboratory, office and seminar accommodation and has been designed to serve as an exemplary building, demonstrating state-of-the-art techniques for environmentally responsible, sustainable construction and energy efficient internal environmental control. It has been designed to minimise its environmental impact by promoting energy efficiency, generating its own energy from renewable sources, and using locally available materials with low embodied energy wherever possible. The residual heating, cooling and ventilation load is estimated to be so low that demands for both these and electrical power required for computing and lighting will be met from renewable energy sources, including a ground source heat pump, solar absorption cooling and photovoltaic panels.
The spaces within the building have been configured to support a number and ventilation strategies, as a demonstration of alternatives to conventional systems. It has also been designed to respond to the diurnal and seasonal variation in the climate of Ningbo, to minimize heating requirement in winter and cooling in summer, promoting natural ventilation in spring and autumn when environmental conditions allow. The building is therefore well insulated, incorporates high thermal capacitance internal floors and walls, and a ventilated glazed south façade. During the summer, when it is both hot and humid, it is necessary to de-humidify and cool the supply air, and the electrical power for this is provided by the photovoltaic system.
The building has been designed to exploit day lighting as far as possible, while avoiding glare and solar heat gain. This reduces the amount of time for which artificial lighting is required. The photovoltaic system will be used to provide artificial lighting and small power for office equipment such as computers, fax machines, etc. During the peak period of sunshine enough power shall be produced from the PV system to run other equipment such as the lift and the mechanical ventilation and chilled water systems. In the event of extra power not being utilised, it shall be stored in batteries or transferred to the nearby sport centre.