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Refurbishing Old Buildings to Enhance Sustainability

Course: BEng (Hons) Building Services Engineering

Completed: May 2020

Number of students: 23 part time students

Brief: Review seven of the oldest buildings on campus and make refurbishment recommendations which would enhance the building’s sustainability performance.

Semester 1: Work in teams to survey your allocated building and to determine its current construction, and mechanical and electrical services provision, as well as to build a detailed understanding of how the building is used.

Semester 2: Work individually to assess the technical and financial viability of a range of refurbishment ideas to enhance sustainability.


A wide range of outcomes were recommended including replacing glazing and improving air tightness and insulation levels.  Additional suggestions included:

  • Improve the timetabling of rooms and to link this to the heating system to prevent spaces being heated when not necessary. 
  • Continue upgrading the lighting systems with LED lighting and ensure that luminaires are wired to allow those closest to windows to be turned off when appropriate.
  • Fit mechanical ventilation with heat recovery to the larger naturally ventilated rooms. 
  • Use of sun-pipes on the upper floors. 
  • Consider connecting the campus to the proposed Civic Quarter District Energy Scheme. 
  • These suggestions have been referred to the University’s Carbon Manager for consideration.

“I worked very hard on [this project] and it was an enjoyable and fulfilling experience. [It] made me realise my potential and I hope this is only the beginning...” (Student’s reflections on completing this project).




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