John Wheatley College, in Glasgow, is an exemplar, low carbon, further education campus building that sets new standards in energy efficiency and sustainable design.

The building contains classrooms, training and workshop spaces, staff and student facilities and administration offices. The building itself incorporates key features to help to ensure low energy consumption and sustainability, including exposed thermal mass for natural cooling, extensive use of natural ventilation and wind controlled exhaust ventilation chimneys. Façade shading on south-facing aspects prevents over-heating and glare in summer, while the design still allows as much natural daylighting as possible to penetrate deep into the building.

To further ensure that the College’s environmental impact was minimised, all aspects of the building and building services design were examined, and a feasibility study was carried out early in the design. The study identified a number of renewable technologies which were beneficial, practical and economic. BREEAM excellent rating achieved.

The specification of the mechanical and electrical services equipment was carefully undertaken to ensure that a low energy solution was delivered. The key elements of this strategy include energy efficiency controls on the boiler, low energy artificial lighting, speed controls on all pumps, fans and electrical motors, and daylight linking and movement detection systems on the lighting systems. Energy data is shown on large screen displays, allowing the staff and students to develop a better understanding of energy consumption and carbon emissions in the building.

  • Biomass boiler for space/ hot water heating to provide the energy to meet the base load space heating and hot water demand.
  • Solar panel thermal modules on roof meet the hot water demand through the summer months. This extends the period of time when the biomass boiler is turned off, reducing the maintenance costs and fuel requirements.
  • Air source heat pumps. Concentrated heat from outdoor air is drawn in to provide thermal energy to supply space heating via an under floor heating system.
  • Solar PV (photovoltaic) modules in the ETFE foil roof provide electricity to supplement the mains electricity supply to the building.
  • Rainwater is harvested using the collected rainwater for flushing toilets.
  • Wind assisted ventilation exhaust chimneys from classrooms provide passive system of venting large spaces.
  • Exposed concrete slabs provide thermal mass to absorb heat and avail of night time cooling.


2007 Glasgow Institute of Architects Design Award – Sustainability