INFRASTRUCTURE

New University of Hull energy centre to get green interior makeover

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The use of plant life in a workspace can help improve employee wellbeing.

As human-induced changes to the Earth’s surface conditions continue to raise concerns over the future of the planet and its inhabitants, efforts are underway across sectors and countries to stall, if not reduce, these potentially catastrophic effects.

Given their role as civic institutions, universities are best-placed to lead the charge as sustainability models–and many are.

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The University of Hull in the UK is one such institution.

In its Environmental Sustainability Strategy 2018/2019, the school commits to “delivering exceptional environmental management and resource sustainability in  order to minimise the impact of its operations on the natural world.”

The university says this commitment will be manifested in all its academic endeavours, as well as in its approach to managing its facilities, estates and activities. Part of this commitment includes employing green strategies to reduce the school’s carbon footprint and waste, conserve energy and water, as well as promoting clean and renewable source.

In line with these goals, the university recently appointed a local interior design firm to design sustainability-focused collaborative workspaces for its new energy and environment centre.

For its first project in the three-year contract, the Hull-based Chameleon Business Interiors will design a modern open-plan workspace in the university’s chemical engineering building, part of its Energy and Environment Institute (EEI).

In keeping with the sustainability theme, the firm will use eco-friendly and sustainably-sourced materials from carbon-neutral businesses to bring its concepts and designs to life.

According to Bdaily News, the use of plants will feature strongly in the workspace, an increasing trend in building and interior design.

More than providing aesthetic appeal, interior vegetation cools the air inside a room, thus reducing the energy needed for air-conditioning; reduces and insulates background noises and vibrations; improves overall air quality and, as a result, improves the overall well-being of its occupants.

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Chameleon Business Interiors head of design Kevin McIntosh labelled the contract a “fantastic opportunity” for the firm, which is just fresh from celebrating the expansion of its overseas portfolio with a design job for Canadian employee discounts firm Perkopolis. Similar to its plan for the EEI, the Perkopolis refurbishment project focused on employee health and wellbeing, and building spaces to spark creativity.

“We view this as a fantastic opportunity to work with the university and the EEI department in creating a tailormade solution to support their needs, enhancing their productivity and enabling them to grow with a design centred towards sustainability and wellness in the workplace,” he said in Bdaily.

Commenting on the project, EEI Director Professor Dan Parsons said: “The Energy and Environment Institute is at the forefront of innovation and research in some of the biggest challenges our planet faces today.

“We are a hub for research across campus, working with businesses, organisations and communities across the world to seek out ideas, systems and solutions that will tackle a range of issues – from flooding and cutting carbon emissions to renewable energy and waste management.

“It’s important that we have an inspirational collaborative space to do that and we are delighted to be working with Chameleon Business Interiors to achieve that.”