Opened in March 2022, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has funded the refurbishment of one of Glasgow’s cultural jewels. This is a comprehensive modernisation since it opened to international acclaim in 1983.
One of the key ambitions of the refurbishment of the Burrell Collection, alongside being able to increase the amount of exhibit space, was improving its environmental performance.
An important element of this was improving the building fabric to allow a reduction in the demands placed on the energy systems within the museum. This was especially important since museums require constant temperature and humidity levels to ensure the conservation of the exhibits on display. The upgraded fabric is estimated to reduce the peak heat and cooling load by 50% and 20% respectively which help reduce reliance on mechanical plant and therefore energy usage.
Heating and cooling is delivered through centralised Air Handling Unit (AHU) plant. This plant incorporates mixing boxes as well as high efficiency thermal wheels. This ensures that most of the heat in the ventilation air stream is recovered and passed back into the supply air. This allows most of the energy added to the building to be recycled during the air conditioning process.
The sustainable interventions are not limited to inside the building – the roof contains an array of Photovoltaic panels, 384 of them producing 140kWp of electricity. These panels produce zero carbon electricity on site, feeding the electrical systems within the building. In order to make the most of these panels, a new 250kW battery absorbs electrical charge either via the photovoltaic panels or the national grid. Electricity from the panels is absorbed when the building doesn’t need the energy, whilst electricity is taken from the national grid when tariffs are low. The battery then feeds the electric buses in the car park.
The project is set to become one of the first museums in the UK to receive a BREEAM excellent rating.