Tate Modern

The vision of the new Tate Modern is to redefine the museum for the twenty first century, integrating learning, display and social functions and strengthening links between the museum, its community and the City.

The extension of Tate Modern is due for completion in 2016, and will see a new building added at the south of the existing gallery. The vision of the new building is to redefine the museum for the 21st century, integrating learning, display and social functions and strengthening links between the museum, its community and the City.

The Tate’s brief is for the building to be agenda setting and take a leading role in sustainability. It aims to challenge the perceived wisdom on the strict levels of environmental control associated with the display of art and set new benchmarks for museums and galleries in the UK. Other drivers for the design are: visitor and staff enjoyment – thermal and visual comfort; the conservation of art; the requirement for 20 per cent on-site renewable energy generation (from the Greater London Authority’s 2008 Plan), and; the availability of UKPN’s waste heat for use in the building.

Key Design Changes

To deliver a building that minimises energy use and carbon emissions Tate’s M&E engineers, are focusing on a few key areas.

  • Environmental zoning
  • Passive design
  • Efficient mechanical and electrical (M&E) systems
  • Low carbon and renewable energy technologies

A passive approach to environmental control is possible within the parts of the building not used for the display of art. This means selecting the most appropriate conditions (temperature and humidity) for each type of space, and minimising energy use where possible, by using primarily passive means for non-art spaces where providing comfortable conditions for the occupants is paramount.

This involves maximising the use of natural ventilation (a low tech, low energy solution to controlling internal pollutants and summertime temperatures), thermal mass (which absorbs heat during the day, releasing it during the cooler nights) and natural lighting.

Even after all the passive measures, the new building will still have significant energy needs: cooling will be required for the galleries, performance spaces, retail spaces, kitchens, IT Rooms etc. and; heating in winter and hot water for WCs and kitchens. The new building aims to make use of efficient M&E systems and low energy technologies to reduce the energy demands of the building.

The new building will draw the majority of heating and cooling energy needs from waste heat from UKPN’s on-site transformers and by tapping into local groundwater resources. Waste heat will be used for space heating, fresh air heating, hot water generation and desiccant dehumidification within the galleries. Extracted from the River Terrace Gravels, groundwater, will be used to provide direct cooling by pumping it round the building and running it through air handling units and embedded coils in offices, a much more energy efficient approach to cooling than conventional air conditioning. Groundwater will also be used to supplement the heating and cooling by using heat pumps, which either extract heat from the ground water for heating or reject heat to the groundwater in cooling mode.

Energy Savings

Through the use of these passive measures along with the efficient M&E services and renewable technologies, the new building is expected to use 54 per cent less energy and generate 44 per cent less carbon than current building regulations demand.

The energy and carbon savings elements of the project have been supported in part by the European Regional Development Fund (via the London Energy Efficiency Fund).

Sustaining Creativity