A state-of-the-art, eco-friendly library at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University's Missionvale Campus near Port Elizabeth will be completed soon, setting a new benchmark. Emphasis has been placed on the library's air-conditioning and lighting systems as they account for most of the energy consumption in the library. The building will be green in terms of power consumption without compromising functionality and comfort, and is being constructed in compliance with university's mission to reduce its carbon footprint. The library is among the first buildings in the country to incorporate the Digital Address Lighting Interface (DALI) system. This automatically controls internal lighting levels via daylight harvesting sensors and occupancy sensors. The power consumption of the DALI system will be approximately 40% lower than that of a conventional system. While more expensive than conventional systems, the payback time is less than 5 years. The luminaires used (fluorescent and metal-halide) have '5-star' green rating in Europe and lower maintenance costs. To reduce the requirement for artificial heating and cooling, emphasis was placed on solar shielding of the building during summer, deep sun penetration during winter, and windows with good thermal insulation. Outside air requirements for building occupants will be controlled by sensors monitoring internal CO2 levels to optimally control the introduction of outside air into the building, thereby eliminating unnecessary heating and cooling.
For the love of books
Maintaining stable environmental conditions is crucial to books ' increases of 10oC double the rate of deterioration, high humidity promotes mould growth, and low humidity leads to embrittlement. Because light damages books, elevations on the fourth level, where most of the books are located, are predominantly face brick with no windows. A combination of internal and external louvre blinds will be used on north, east and west-facing elevations. Windows in the library do not open so as to have a sealed envelope to aid the centralised air-handling systems. Alternative energy sources like solar and wind were investigated but were not found to be sufficiently cost-efficient (economy of scale and payback more than 15 years). The library is part of the NMMU's Missionvale Campus Development Plan. More than R100 million will be spent on new and existing buildings by 2010, in order to accelerate its long-term development plan towards poverty alleviation and sustainable development.