Sustainability has become an important aspect of building construction at present, especially for the countries with high economic growth while environmentally degraded and polluted, such as China. Therefore, the Chinese government vigorously developed sustainable buildings. It is reported that the Ministry of Science and Technology of China planned an assessment system for green building in 2003. As the University of Nottingham opened new campus in Zhejiang Province, the Centre for Sustainable Energy Technologies (CSET) has been an exemplar building, for the first zero carbon building in China.
The CSET Building was accomplished in 2008, which is designed by Mario Cucinella Architects. The vision of the building is to achieve the self-sufficient and self-contained of energy without heating or cooling systems and minimize the harmful effect to environment with the method of generating energy from clean renewable energy, reducing the emission of carbon and using local materials.
Inspired by the Chinese lantern and folding fan, the building distorts to create many facades. The 22 m high building is like a beacon, which is visible all around the campus. The tower is clad with double skin of glass entirely, which would glimmer at day while the glazing skin would be hyaline at night, seems a ribbon convolved around the tower. The area of the building is approximately 1300m², which contains six floors, a semi basement and five over ground. The main entrance of the CSET building, which is the east side, locates the main glazed façade. It consists of double glazing curtain wall and pre-painted aluminium. The separation between two glass modules is filled with galvanized metal profile. The second skin covers its transparent and opacity parts to create ventilation. As for the external cover, silk-screen laminated glass modules form fixed system, which makes the appearance modern. Steel bars fixed to the internal steel structure and concrete wall directly to support each glass module. The structure of the building is concrete, the internal concrete staircase increases the stability. Hence, CSET building has the capability to 7.9 magnitude earthquake.
The main function of the CSET building is to provide a specialist research laboratory (250m²at the ground floor) about new and renewable energy materials and systems for staff and post-graduate students. It would focus on developing and testing new technologies for both housing, public and commercial with worldwide industrial partners. The semi basement is used as a display area of renewable energy technology, which is the platform for communication about latest research work on sustainable energy. The exhibition space is linked to the laboratory, which affords a view of work in the lab. There are a triangular teaching room with 20 work stations and a resource room on second and third floor, composing the research and teaching areas. Office space and a meeting room with staff kitchenette are distributed on the two upper floors.
The CSET building is designed as automatically change of temperature to guarantee the moderate comfort level for people, instead of conventional air conditioning system. The carbon emission can also be eliminated by using renewable energy. Furthermore, the building is able to adjust daily and seasonally to the climate of Ningbo, to realize the requirement of heating in summer and cooling in winter. When weather conditions are favourable, natural ventilation is promoted.
Comprised high thermal capacitance internal floors and walls, with a ventilated glazed south facade, thus the CSET building is will insulated. In terms of cold condition, the building is designed a bit tilt to seal on the north side, which is proof the winter wind. To raise internal surface temperature, the only heat requirement is to pre-heat ventilation air. The south facade can pre-heat ventilation air by