Mackintosh building goes green at 100

Pic courtesy of The Glasgow School of Art.
Pic courtesy of The Glasgow School of Art.

THE Grade A-listed Mackintosh Building at The Glasgow School of Art is celebrating its recent centenary and also the fact it has become almost carbon neutral with help from the ScottishPower Green Energy Trust.
The higher education institution has replaced its outdated gas boiler heating system, with a modern and environmentally friendly biomass wood pellet system using £10,000 donated by the Trust.
Continuing Mackintosh’s tradition of architectural innovation, the present architecture department’s Environmental Architecture Research Unit worked with Arup Engineers to introduce sustainable power.
A major part of the building’s enduring appeal, particularly to architects, is its technical innovation. At the forefront of technology of the time and embracing new innovations in electric light, mechanical ventilation and central heating, Mackintosh installed a heating and ventilation system designed by William Key.
In keeping with Mackintosh’s innovative philosophy, the upgraded heating system now provides low carbon heating and hot water across three buildings, the Mackintosh Building, the stunning new Reid Building and the Bourdon Building helping the GSA become more carbon efficient. Ellen McAteer, Development Services Manager at The Glasgow School of Art, said, “The Biomass boiler is already providing a 42% reduction in the School’s carbon footprint, it also provides a demonstration of low carbon technology on campus educating students, staff and the general public with display monitors strategically placed around the building highlighting the amount of energy saved.
“This project indicates a major first step on the road to rendering this important national treasure.”
In 2009 the School completed the refurbishment of the Mackintosh Building, which alongside renovating the fabric of the building, aimed to enable visitors to have a deeper understanding of the design. As part of the works visitors can now to see the internal workings of the fan heating system and gain an appreciation for the modern system Mackintosh employed.
Alison McKean, Senior Environmental and Social Policy Manager at ScottishPower, said, “We’re delighted to have supported such a high profile education institution in their bid to move with the times.”