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  • Writer's pictureKaterina McKechnie

Eco-friendly ‘smart living’ lab planned for BT site

In partnership with architects Studiomanifest, Univeraity and BT have embarked on a collaborative project to design a eco-friendly “smart living research laboratory” which could be built on Martlesham’s Adastral Park. Our very own Katerina Mckechnie was part of this exciting project.

The proposed EcoLab, which will be part fo the DigiTech centre at Adastral Park in Martlesham. Picture: STUDIOMANIFEST

The collaboration, called the DigiTech centre, will help to train University of Suffolk students and BT apprentices as future industry professionals.

The EcoLab, if approved following a planning application to East Suffolk Council, would take the form of a two-bedroom house and is designed to be built with a limited budget of around £200,000.

Initial concepts for the EcoLab which were produced by architecture students from different universities in the region. Picture: STUDIOMANIFEST/LOIS WHITNELL, DOMINIK GRUNHUT, KATE MCKECHNIE, KAYLAH FRIMPONG-MENSAH, CONOR SHAW, ANTHONY GILL, WILLIAM KING & CECILIA JUNCO LOBATO

But it would be a built with a twist. It plans to achieve a zero carbon occupancy, as well as a reduction in embodied carbon of around 50% compared to a typical brick and block house.

It would be built using the latest construction methods, with work on the project due to start at the end of the year.

Once constructed, the building would be used to develop and test a range of smart technologies as part of the DigiTech centre at Adastral Park.

Even when up and running, its eco-credentials will continue.

The completed building would use self-monitoring, analysis and reporting technology (SMART) systems to evaluate the performance of sustainable materials, as well as low carbon energy and water consumption.

TThe initial designs for the EcoLab were developed by architecture students from local universities during two architecture hackathons in June.

At the time Ben Powell, a university lecturer in architecture and director of StudioManifest, said: “The collaborative workshop is a great opportunity for architecture students to gain experience working on a live project and to see their designs develop into a built scheme.

“This has been reciprocated with incredible energy and enthusiasm from participants, providing the project with a unique platform from which to develop. “This mode of operating, blending theory and practice, represents our approach to delivering learning at the university, and highlights our commitment to addressing sustainability by placing people at its core.

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