The Legacy Award – Sustainability
Winner: Cardiff Central Library, Laing O’Rourke Wales & West
When judging the legacy award it is important to determine what is meant by sustainability. It is far more than the use of photo voltaic, solar power, wind energy, boreholes or locally sourced timber. A truly sustainable scheme should involve community and demonstrate economic viability and where possible, play a part in instigating some form of change in an organisation. The new 55,000 sq. ft, state-of-the-art, six-storey Cardiff Central Library meets these criteria. It demonstrates a high level of sustainable design through targeting the primary energy demand caused by heating and cooling. The integration and focus on passive techniques, to deliver free cooling and targeted ventilation strategy demonstrates sound design principles. Using thermal mass as the primary climate modifier and the use of shading, displays an integrated approach to dealing with the issues of heating and cooling.
With the integration of the local community it demonstrated the highest principles of sustainability in the whole; and it made the use of a brown field site to provide a focal point for residents of Cardiff. The library’s initial design concept was created by Building Design Partnership with contractor Laing O’Rourke appointed for design and build through to project completion. Both were set BREEAM rating targets of ‘Excellent’. Opened in March 2009, Cardiff Central Library is the only city centre building to have both Design & Post Construction Stage BREEAM rating of ‘Excellent’ with highest score in the UK for post construction.
Sustainability was not listed as a separate item on the cost plan but inbuilt into the design from the earliest stages. As a result, the team achieved the highest ever ‘BREEAM Excellent’ rating for a Bespoke Construction Review for less than 0.5% of the construction cost. In summary, the city of Cardiff not only has a library to be proud of, but also one which sets a new standard for a sustainable city centre design and construction project which hasn’t ‘cost the earth’!