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Conservation Research Institute


The sustainability strategy for the David Attenborough Building was developed by BuroHappold Engineering. At the beginning of the project an energy audit and occupant satisfaction survey took place to understand how the building was performing, in order to establish a baseline. These studies then informed the detailed energy efficiency strategy for the refurbishment, together with environmental studies to improve occupant comfort and productivity.

A bespoke ‘sustainability framework’ was developed for the project, setting targets covering a wide range of indicators including biodiversity, water, waste, materials, pollution and transport. This framework was developed through a process of consultation with users from each organisation moving into the building. The targets developed were for the design team, contractors and the future occupants of the building.

Headline measures

The energy and carbon reduction strategy for the David Attenborough Building was developed through a ‘lean, clean, green’ approach, aiming to:

  1. Be lean: utilise passive environmental design to use less energy
  2. Then, be clean: supply energy efficiently throughout the building
  3. And finally, be green: use renewable energy for further carbon reductions

Lean improvements to the building’s energy performance include:

  • Natural ventilation on all office bays on the building’s perimeter
  • Exposed concrete throughout to regulate internal temperatures
  • Slim-line ‘phase change materials’ on the top floor to absorb heat like a concrete slab
  • Internal insulation behind brick and concrete walls and exposed soffits
  • A new glass atrium to enhance lighting in the new foyer
  • New solar control double glazing throughout the building
  • Replacement of lead cladding
  • Improved air-tightness
  • Roof renovation

Clean energy efficiency measures include:


  • New high efficiency gas boilers
  • Combined heat and power (CHP) supplying heat, power and hot water
  • Low energy and LED lighting throughout with daylight and motion control
  • New high efficiency cooling and ventilation for mechanically treated areas
  • Temperature and CO2 sensors linked to window actuators to regulate internal comfort
  • A new central building management system with energy monitoring software

Green efficiency measures include:


  • High efficiency photovoltaic panels on the roof
  • Glass integrated photovoltaic panels in the atrium roof light

In order to help embed sustainability into day-to-day working habits a series of sustainability framework targets have been developed for building users, including monitoring of biodiversity, improved food choices, and monitoring energy and water use.