New Botanic Place sustainability designs to cut energy usage by 75%

August 31, 2023

Planned to be one of the most sustainable and intelligent workspaces in the UK, Botanic Place, has revealed sustainable designs that will help save up to 75% in energy compared to traditional office buildings when in operation. The new office scheme, which is being developed by Railpen and Socius, has boosted its sustainability credentials ahead of construction in 2024.

Led by award-winning architects Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM), the design targets solutions that create a comfortable working environment whilst significantly minimising energy use. These include:

  • Architecture that responds to the sun, deflecting heat and providing shading to keep internal temperatures cool during warmer months with vertical fins that are smartly separated and angled using solar technology
  • Intelligent ventilation systems built into the façade, to allow fresh air to circulate the building throughout the day, reducing the use of carbon intensive air conditioning units
  • Overnight heat release in warmer months, which will displace warm air from the day with colder evening air, passively cooling the building before the next day begins
  • A reversible system in colder months, that can also harvest natural heat sources over time and carefully redistribute it, reducing the need for mechanical heaters
  • Environmentally conscious building materials which use thermal mass to better absorb, store and release heat will be used to moderate internal temperatures, similar to that found in a cavern, church or cathedral
  • Re-purposing bricks, steel and concrete from Francis House and Betjeman House during construction
  • Approximately 400 solar panels on the roof to reduce demand on Cambridge’s power networks

Richard Van Lente, Senior Asset and Development Manager, Railpen said: “Botanic Place showcases Railpen’s dedicated efforts toward sustainability. Our vision for Botanic Place goes beyond just creating a workspace; it’s about nurturing a space that prioritises the wellbeing of people and the planet. To achieve this, we’re incorporating sustainable practices into every step of the construction process, aligning with the building’s surroundings and utilising eco-friendly materials that limit our impact on the environment.”

The scheme, which has planning permission and has a minor material application that is currently under review by Cambridge City Council, will significantly reduce the carbon impact of construction, improve energy efficiency, promote active travel with greater accessibility and priority for cyclists over cars.

Botanic Place, located next to Cambridge University Botanic Garden on Hills Road, has an existing planning consent for a new £500m, 500,000 sq. ft workspace scheme, and work is expected to begin on site towards the end of the year.

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