Saving for the sake of the science

Published: 12-Mar-2014

Managing a research laboratory in the face of rising bills can lead to a stark choice: make savings or cut back on the science. For the Hutchison Medical Research Centre in Cambridge, UK reducing energy consumption was the obvious target

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It is an unfortunate fact of modern economic life that energy costs are rising steadily while building management budgets are static or even declining. For new buildings it is fairly easy to incorporate the latest energy-saving systems and materials, but existing facilities may be plagued by inadequate or non-functioning systems that make the search for technologies to increase energy efficiency particularly pressing.

The Hutchison MRC Research Centre opened in March 2001 as a joint venture between the UK’s Medical Research Council (MRC) and the University of Cambridge to address a need in translational cancer research. It is a standard biomedical ‘wet lab’ occupied by 150 scientists and support staff. The facility was built and operated by MRC and supported by the MRC regional estates team.

On 1 October 2013 it was transferred into the University of Cambridge and is now staffed by University employees and supported by the University of Cambridge team. It consists of five floors, three of which house the laboratories where the research is carried out, one support floor and a plant room on the top floor.

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