University of Birmingham Library
The University of Birmingham Library

The award-nominated University of Birmingham library uses 65% less energy to heat than the building it replaced.

The facility, which opened in 2016, is bigger than its predecessor by more than 1,000 square metres, and also uses 3,688 fewer kilowatt hours of electricity every year.

Earlier this month, the building was shortlisted by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in the West Midlands awards.

Director of Library Services Diane Job said: “The energy use reduction in our new library is fantastic. It really shows how you can design a larger and more efficient building, while reducing the demands on resources. Our new library has approximately 500 extra seats compared to the old one and is proving a really popular study location for our students. Another advantage is the space’s flexibility, meaning we can increase study spaces in the run up to exams. I’m thrilled with the RIBA nomination.”

Estates Project Manager Stephen Ashton, who led the project, said: “We are proud that our new library has been shortlisted for the West Midlands RIBA Regional Awards. The new library has been well-received by the students, has allowed us to improve our service and has drastically reduced our energy bills. It’s good that the quality of this cutting-edge design has been recognised by the RIBA.”

The library was designed to be energy efficient, contributing to the University’s commitment to achieve a 20% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2020, which has already been met. Working with experts, high efficiency LED lighting was installed with heat reclaimed from the ventilation system, window blinds to reduce glare and overheating in hot weather and photovoltaic solar panels on the roof. It has received an ‘Excellent’ rating under Building Research Establishment Assessment Method (BREEAM).

The former library has now been demolished to make way for a new 12 acre Green Heart parkland, due to open in summer 2019.

Alongside the library, the University’s Sport and Fitness Club has also been nominated for a RIBA award. Formally opened earlier this year by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, the club features a 50m pool, 10m climbing wall, five activity studios and 200+ piece fitness gym.

Director of Sport Zena Wooldridge said: “This is fantastic news. I’m delighted for the whole team involved in conceiving, designing and constructing such an impressive building. It’s not just the physical design and appearance of it, but it has a lovely welcoming feel to it too. It’s a building people love being in, and creates a sense of well-being and community. We’re very lucky to have such a magnificent building, and very proud it has been short-listed for a RIBA award.”

The library, Sport and Fitness Club and Green Heart are part of a £600 million investment in the University of Birmingham’s campus, with a vision to provide state-of-the-art facilities to students and staff for generations to come.

For further information, please contact Communications and Stakeholder Engagement Manager Sally Xerri-Brooks on +44 (0)121 4143984.