Energy efficiency of the building
To date, the William Gates building remains the most energy efficient building in the portfolio of the University of Cambridge.
This is done by careful management and monitoring of the building management system which looks after temperatures throughout the building.
To help keep this system working at optimum, Building Services request that users of WGB keep the opening of windows to a minimum.
If you have any questions or need any clarification, please do not hesitate to contact Building services who will be more than happy to talk to you.
Where possible please do not open windows to control the temperature in your room, but use the climate control dial in your room. The heating and cooling, as well as the humidity in the air of your office, is being monitored daily to make sure that the building is running at comfortable temperatures and ensuring the economic use of the fuels used.
Offices are supplied with fresh air through round metal vents in the floor. Air leaves an office via a rectangular hole on the wall leading to the corridor ceiling void. Air that has passed through an office leaves the building and is not recirculated (except perhaps when the outside temperature is very low). The heat of the outgoing air is recycled through a heat exchanger.
Air flow can be adjusted per building section, as well as in individual floor vents. If you believe that any adjustments are necessary, contact building-services.
Most offices have no individual heating mechanism; a few corner rooms have wall-mounted electric heaters. The air pumped into the floor space is heated in a central machine room to a comfortable temperature (21 °C). Your window and outside office walls are highly insulated. The room temperature depends mainly on
- the temperature and flow rate of air from the floor vents
- power dissipated by electrical devices (computers, lamps)
- solar gain
- the setting of the cooling thermostat
If you have problems with the room temperature, and in particular before bringing in your own heater, get in touch with building-services.
Each office has a large radiator ("chilled beam") along the wall by the door, which is suspended from the ceiling and covered with a white box. It is connected via a thermostatic valve to the building's chilled water system. This radiator can only cool, not heat the room. It is mainly intended for use in rooms with a large number of computers or where there is too much solar gain over the summer months.
The amount of chilled water flowing through the radiator is controlled by the adjustable thermostat that is located next to the door and light switch. Its settings are:
|5||chilled water flows if room > ~28 °C||warmest setting|
|4||chilled water flows if room > ~24 °C||recommended|
|3||chilled water flows if room > ~20 °C|
|2||chilled water flows if room > ~16 °C||coolest useful setting|
|1||chilled water flows if room > ~12 °C||below water temperature|
|*||chilled water flows if room > ~7 °C||below water temperature|
|0||chilled water flows always||only for testing|
Details: The thermostat appears to be an inverted (cold water) version of the oventrop Uni HL with remote control. The above approximate temperatures come from the manufacturer's installation instructions. The dots between numbers 2 and 4 correspond to a temperature difference of 1 °C.
In rooms that have a heater installed, make sure that the cooling thermostat is set to 5 when the heater is switched on, to avoid heating and cooling simultaneously and thereby wasting a lot of energy.
The ceiling lights are equipped with a light sensor located in a small white cylinder at one end of the fitting. They can be adjusted such that the reflected light level seen by the downward-looking phototransistor remains roughly constant. A correctly adjusted sensor helps to save energy. If you believe that your lamp needs adjustment, please contact building-services. If the light malfunctions, the electronic ballast may have to be replaced (we had a series of early failures with these).
- If the lights are on, using the override will turn the lights off permanently until the override button is pressed again.
- If the lights are off (because of the ambient light), use the override to turn the lights on. The lights will remain on until the occupancy period is over.
Windows can be opened only a small gap. This is for security reasons on the ground floor and for safety reasons elsewhere. If your window has a handle but cannot be opened at all, it may still be locked. In this case, you may discuss whether it can be unlocked with Building Services.
All windows are equipped with blinds. Where these are not sufficient to protect a room user's eyes from direct sunlight during some hours of the day, a second, opaque blind can be installed. Contact Building Services if you need one.
If your room is too hot or too cold, then please let Building Services know so we can adjust the ventilation in your room to your needs.
Why windows should remain closed
The reason why we like to keep windows closed at the William Gates Building, is to conserve energy. The Building Mangement System, which controls the climate in the Building, helps with this aim:
- warm air is blown into your room via the floor vents
- cool air is generated by use of the chilled beam control on the wall next to the light switch in your room
- both of these are adjustable
With this warming and cooling system in place, you can perhaps begin to understand how leaving a window open for long periods of time while the building is heating in the winter, or cooling in the summer, leads to a huge waste of energy.
The Building Management System is also affected badly by the
false indications given by the temperature change taking place when a window is left open.
False indications of temperature can change the settings for heating/cooling for up three working days.
This can lead to complaints by other building users because they are too hot or too cold, simply because a window has been left open overnight!
Building Services is aware that it is nice to open windows sometimes, but we would strongly advise you not to leave the windows open overnight or over a weekend period because of the loss of warm air in the winter, or cool air in the summer.
On occasions, where the same windows are continually left open, these will be locked.
If you wish to change the temperature in your room, we would suggest closing the door to the corridor, then open your window for short periods of time during the day. (Opening the window, with the door open doesn't just influence the temperature in the room, but in the corridor too. Closing the door minimises the temerature changes in the building).
But we do ask that you take responsibility of making sure that the window is closed again before you leave.
We are always happy to discuss the management of the windows and climate control of the building, and if you require any further information, please contact Building Services, who will be happy to discuss this issue and answer any questions you may have.
A large fraction of the energy consumed in our building powers our IT infrastructure. Therefore, where possible, computing infrastructure should be turned off when not in use.
In particular, desk computers should be switched off or sent into a hibernation mode when not used (especially overnight), and their displays switched off. Avoid animated screen savers. If you prefer to leave your computer on to access it remotely, please consider the following alternatives:
- Many PCs can now be remotely switched on as needed, via a web interface.
- Most facilities of your desk computer are also available via our timesharing servers.
The sys-admin wiki features an energy-saving page with more detailed suggestions.
As of April 2011, all waste discarded by the Computer Laboratory is brought to a central recycling site, where it will be sorted.
- Paper can be discarded in collection points next to the printers, but can also be disposed of in normal office bins.
- Glass jars and bottles, cardboard and any general waste can all go into office bins.
- Soft-drink cans and shredded paper will be collected in the same way but with a clear plastic liner in the bin.
- Food waste must be separated and put into the correct bin in the kitchens.
- Batteries, toner, IT equipment, and light bulbs are collected separately at Stores (GW03).
- Estate Management: What you can do