Ever been to Life Science Centre on a warm summer’s day? The western half of the building acts very much like a greenhouse. There’s a good reason for that – the building was designed so that plants could be grown in that part of the building, under enormous flexible plastic skylights. Now, 17 years later, we’re not keeping many plants around – except some for our dinosaurs to hide behind – but it still has its uses.
For starters, we get to refer to the ‘Light Side’ and the ‘Dark Side’ of the Science Centre. (This is particularly fun when we had Star Wars cosplayers wandering around. “Could Anakin please return to the Dark Side…”) More practically, though, it saves on the energy we use for heating and lighting.
Huge buildings like ours are often built like warehouses with very few windows and need a lot of artificial light. Not this one! Artificial light is actually very limited in the Light Side of the Science Centre because we just don’t need it. Heating such a huge space is also no mean feat, but like any greenhouse, the sunshine coming through the roof heats up the air and bounces around inside, keeping things much warmer than they might otherwise be in winter. Just a shame the North East doesn’t get more sunshine really!
Newcastle Gateshead Cultural Venues are working together on the first Green Week, from Monday 11 – Sunday 17 September 2017. The week aims to raise awareness of environmental issues, and will focus on five main areas: paper, water, food waste, energy and travel.