St Andrews University ,Eden Campus
Off Grid Office
This small but fully functioning office and meeting space was designed for St Andrews University's new Eden Campus at Guardbridge. The building sits on an exposed site, its size contrasting with the impressively scaled warehouses on the side of the Eden Estuary, 5 miles west of St Andrews. It is completely off grid.
Eden Campus Energy Centre is central to the University's aim to be the UKs first carbon neutral university and a low carbon exemplar. The office acts as a hub for the campus as it develops and accommodates four researchers at adjustable standing desks, a kitchenette, meeting space, external patio, shower room ,store cupboard, entrance foyer and covered entrance porch.
The office is powered by nine , roof mounted, 320W solar panels ; the power is stored in a bank of 8 batteries , and the he system is capable of generating 3kw and an inverter means conventional appliances can also be used. A monitor allows students to access and download the building's data, and to track the generation and usage of the renewable energy.
A separate externally accessed storage space houses the batteries and also two Tuff Tanks - one for non potable water and the other for the collection of waste, with each storage tank being refilled and emptied, respectively, by tankers currently servicing other areas of the site. Simple glass bottles of drinking water are refilled as necessary and kept chilled in the fridge.
The vaulted form of the building is echoed in the entrance porch , with a cantilevered, vaulted roof. Russwood FSC ScotLarch clad side walls and roof, and timber deck , are complemented by a rainscreen in 6mm Heritage 'Slate' Richlite panels, specified with a mill finish for the entrance and gable ends. Our choice of Richlite was not only for its aesthetic and sustainability - it is certified by the Rainforest Alliance, and is ingenuiously manufactured using layers of 100% post consumer, recycled paper - but also as a small tribute to the former paper mill which sat on the site for over a hundred years , and which the village of Guardbrige grew up round before its closure in 2008.
The interior is lined with natural, untreated Nordpan spruce panels and the walls, floor and vaulted roof are insulated with Thermafleece sheep wool insulation. The building is heated by underfloor heating using a combi gas boiler, which also provides hot water . An 'Arctic' wood burner provides a homely touch on colder days.
The palette of interior colours is borrowed from the Estuary, with soft greens, blues and greys . Sustainable finishes include Forbo Nairn's Linoleum which provides a practical flooring finish; Furniture Linoleum tops the desks. and Bulletin Board to the walls and the doors to the interior store in the entrance lobby to provide a functional , flexible and durable surfaces.
The kitchenette recess houses a concealed fridge, storage cupboards and shelving. A two ring gas hob and stainless sink are set into a 19mm Spruce ply worktop topped with the universally useful Richlite ; below, the blue/grey linoleum fronted doors. The conference table in the meeting space is designed and constructed by ECHO and is detailed to compliment the interior.
Double glazed, full height windows to each wall look onto the site and the estuary, with a Velfac patio door accessing the south facing timber deck for inside/ outside use. The decking surface is Russwood ScotLarch DeckGrip. Together with a glazed entrance door , the space benefits from the maximum amount of daylight and generous views of the Estuary and the spectacular varied birdlife sustained by the sand flats .