The Devonshire Building is a solar building, that automatically opens and closes banks of shades on it’s south facing façade. The intelligent system tracks the amount of sunlight entering the windows, and takes into account the time of day and season. The key architectural aim was to design a building that would incorporate as much natural daylight as physically possible. The blinds help manage overheating, and they are backed up by a geothermal cooling system. To top it all off, the building has solar modules on its roof that generate 25 kW of power.
The building’s large roof area also allowed the construction of a rainwater harvest system. The rain is collected via a symphonic rainwater system and then fed into a 20,000 liter underground tank. If the rainwater tank overfills, it overflows to a 40,000 liter geothermal tank to replenish the water for a heat sink that acts as a cooling source for the building and services’ systems.
The Devonshire Building was designed by the Dewjoc architecture firm. It is home to the Institute for Research and Sustainability at the University of Newcastle.