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Buro targets energy efficiency benchmark

Construction work started yesterday on an office development, designed by Buro Happold and Nord Architecture, which could smash existing industry standards for energy efficiency.

The design for Wexford County Council's new Headquarters is has achieved BREEAM's 'excellent' rating and is expected to use 30% less energy than the current benchmark.

Robin Lee, a Partner at Nord Architecture, said: "The design takes into account both the programmatic and architectural complexities of a contemporary council headquarters, while integrating a strong sustainable environmental strategy."

The council headquarters will consist of six buildings surrounded by landscaped courtyards and grouped around an internal street, to creating a 'townscape' compound.

The open-plan areas in each building between department blocks will require minimal heating as the buildings will be insulated by two layers of glass paneling, the inner paneling being opened horizontally to control heat loss.

Describing the goals of the project, Buro Happold's design manager, Chris Perry, said: "The main energy load on the building, in terms of the occupants' comfort, is heating."

"Each of the department blocks will minimise heating loads through insulation and airtight design, with further reduction gained through a glass rain screen surrounding the building – in winter this acts as both a buffer space and thermal wrapper," he explained.

The new headquarters are expected to be open by summer 2009.

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