Sustainable refurbishment at Ashworth 2

Ashworth 2 is a 1970s building which sits behind the iconic Ashworth Building at Kings Buildings. Recent refurbishment has given the building - including its labs - a much needed update with sustainability in mind.

The Ashworth 2 building at King’s Buildings has been undergoing refurbishment of its offices and laboratories since September 2014. This month a major milestone was reached when the 2nd floor lab refurbishment was completed.

The modern labs at Ashworth 2
The modern labs at Ashworth 2

A flexible approach to the final design has meant that the labs have been able to incorporate improvements and developments in sustainable design and building practices during the refurbishment, such as incorporating light sensor kits to auto dim office lights.

During the refurbishment work sustainability has been incorporated into the spaces in a number of ways:

  • Increased wall and roof insulation
  • Reorganisation and repositioning of equipment to reduce the need for energy intensive DX air conditioning units
  • Reduced number of energy intensive externally vented fume cupboards, and replacing with recirculating fume cupboards (incorporating ventilation storage underneath)
  • Cold rooms provided to discourage the accumulation of fridges within labs
  • Design of office and lab spaces to maximise natural daylight, reducing the need for artificial lighting
  • Glass walls between offices and corridor spaces to allow natural daylight into these internal spaces and reduce the artificial lighting requirement
  • Installation of energy efficient T5 lighting
  • Motion sensor controls for lighting
  • LED task lighting at benches, with dimmable controls
  • Operable windows in offices to provide free natural ventilation
  • Generic and flexible design of lab spaces so it can easily be rearranged in future without massive upheaval
  • Dedicated spaces for weighing and sharing of common chemicals and lab consumables.

This leaves only the ground floor remaining to be refurbished.

This refurbishment project, undertaken by the School of Biological Sciences, demonstrates good practice in many areas and may provide a useful template for other laboratory refurbishments around the University of Edinburgh.

A new fume cupboard
A new fume cupboard

For more information about the lab refurbishment, contact Andrew Arnott.

Andrew Arnott

SRS Projects Coordinator (Labs)

Contact details


  • Andrew graduated from University of Aberdeen in 2006 and spent 18 months working in an environmental management role. Moving to Edinburgh at the end of 2007 he took up a role providing energy efficiency and renewable energy advice to businesses on behalf of the Energy Saving Trust. In 2010 he spent 9 months volunteering in Malawi, setting up environmental projects. Returning to the UK in 2011 he took a role in a consultancy firm providing energy efficiency, renewable energy and resource efficiency advice to public and private sector clients.