ZEBRA Project - the Environment Centre (tEC)

ZEBRA (Zero Emission Building Renewing Alnwick) was the project name to replace Defra’s Lion House office with a new ultra-low emission building. It is located at the edge of the Northumberland National Park in Alnwick. It is a two-storey building of 1600m².

Assessment: Highest BREEAM rating in the UK in 2008: 80.72%; A+ Energy Performance Certificate (overall CO2 index of -14). Won National BREEAM Award 2008 (office category)
Cost: Total cost = £4.16m, £2,000/m2 (£375 below average)

  • Three wind turbines (Predicted energy supply 60,000kWh/year; Expected CO2 savings 34,080kg/year) 110m² of Photovoltaic panel integrated into the brise-soleil, predicted energy supply 7,500kWh/year Expected CO2 savings 4,260kg/year
  • Solar hot water heating (evacuated tube collector) providing 40% of annual hot water demand. Predicted energy supply 4,160kWh/year; Expected CO2 savings 807kg/year.
  • 40kW Biomass boiler working with wood chips from local suppliers ( < 5miles) (Expected CO2 savings 2,400kg/year)
  • Embodied energy of the building: 1,289kg CO2/m², excluding fixtures and fittings.
  • Heat recovery ventilation
  • Monitoring: The office lighting is controlled by daylight dimming and motion sensors.

  • All major building materials have an A rating for their environmental impact, according to BRE’s Green Guide.
  • Hybrid structure for the building essentially comprises of a steel frame, glulam columns and exposed concrete slabs for the ground, first and roof levels.
  • Recycled materials from the original Lion House when it was demolished: nearly 92% was recycled: 1125.08 tones of concrete, 19.2 tones of timber, 76.80 tones of metal, 146.16 tones of mixed waste and 6.24 tones of industrial. The old furniture was donated to Green-Works, a not-for-profit group which recycles office equipment, and desks for the new building were recycled from the government estate.

Rainwater harvesting system and low-water-use fittings. The target is 1m³/person/year, which is a third of normal best practice targets.

Occupants’ participation has lead to change in the building design: more direct human control and less automatic monitoring.

The embodied energy of the building seems huge (should be <800) and some facts are missing; for example the energy need of the building without renewable and others. This really shows if the building has an energy-saving design and takes the maximum it could from the site.
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