Biodiversity and sustainability

Green roofs

After extensive consultation with ecology specialists, the Museum will conduct a trial green roof on one section of the new building.  The design has ensured that the infrastructure for the green roof will be installed on the entire building, and it will be extended to other sections of the roof if the trial proves successful.  The type of planting and foliage will be carefully selected and maintained to manage the risk of pest infiltration or damage to the Museum’s collection.

A number of nesting boxes for swifts and beehives for a colony of honey bees will also be provided.


The open space to the west of the new building provides an opportunity to create a landscaped area.  This tight urban space will provide a welcome oasis of calm for the Museum as well as the other properties that overlook the site.  With the help of a landscape and urban design consultant, the courtyard will be designed to pick up some of the references of the structural grid of the of the building’s design, through paving patterns and planting.

Energy efficiency

The new Centre has been designed to be as energy efficient as possible.

The Museum has taken a holistic approach by considering not only how energy consumption for the new Centre can be minimised through its design and use but also how the Museum’s energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions across the entire Bloomsbury site can be significantly reduced over time.  A green energy strategy for the whole site will be implemented as part of this development.

As part of the new building’s design a number of sustainability and energy saving initiatives have been introduced.  These include:

  • Careful placement of the different functions within the new building to minimize energy consumption and maximise the benefit of natural daylight where this is of greatest benefit.
  • The provision of natural ventilation to work spaces wherever possible.
  • The main items of building plant will be designed with maximum energy efficiency in mind; heat recovery systems for example being employed on all ventilation systems and laboratory exhausts.
  • Close control over fume cupboard air extraction volumes will be adopted, thereby greatly reducing energy consumption.
  • The electric lighting-system will automatically dim or turn off where and when there is adequate daylight to illuminate the space.  Presence detection will be installed so that lights turn off automatically when a room is not in use.
  • Zero carbon technologies will be incorporated into the building through the use of roof-mounted photovoltaic cells, and ground source heat transfer will also be employed in the basement walls to mitigate basement heat loss and provide cooling to upper floors.

Other sustainable aspects of the new building include:

  • Collection and re-use of rainwater for use in laboratories and toilets.
  • Low-flow WCs and spray taps to minimise water usage.
  • Re-use of demolition materials in the construction process wherever possible.
  • An aspiration to maximise the materials sourced from within the UK in order to reduce embodied energy and reduce carbon emissions from transportation.