This new extension to Thurso College will provide a base for the Environmental Research Institute (ERI). The building’s design reflects the aspirations of the ERI, marrying its ethos to the built environment that will be its home.
It is important that the building is recognised by its users to have a strong environmental agenda. As such, the design embraces pragmatic environmental principles. These can be easily identified and create a functional and pleasant working environment that reflects the work of the ERI.
The main structure is made from glulam columns and beams. Cross-laminated panels (CLP) have been used for the upper floor and some inner walls. External walls and roof purlins are made from engineered timber I-beams. These are light to handle and very thermally efficient.
The cladding is either untreated European larch or Scots pine treated with furfuryl alcohol (a process that uses a natural alcohol made from sugar cane). This preserves the timber, leaving no adverse environmental impact during its manufacture, life, removal, or destruction.
Thurso College: use of timber
Special timber-related features
The combination of CLP and glulam structure was chosen as they are both materials with low embodied energy. They also clearly visually embrace the ideas and ideals of sustainability.
In addition, the choice of materials is quicker to erect than the usual steel and concrete structures used in commercial buildings, saving six weeks on the build programme.
The CLP is strong and visually attractive and as such can be used as the finished article with minimal finishing. The cross-laminated timber has also been used as the one-hour fire separating wall around the fire escape stair without any treatment, due to its known behaviour in fire conditions.
Thurso College: construction site
A library of sustainable building materials
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