University of Sheffield‘s new £4.4 million Arthur Willis Environmental Centre will allow researchers to study future climate scenarios and their effects on local biology, including plants and social insects such as ants and bees. The energy-efficient greenhouse gave Bond Bryan Architects and builders William Birch & Sons Ltd an opportunity for some innovative work. The facility has been built to not only blend seamlessly into the surrounding woodlands and sit upon on WWII rubble infill, but also to allow bees to fly in and out!
With the bees traveling freely between the facility and the outdoors, scientists will be able to study their behavioral patterns as they travel to their nearby hives. The Centre is the new home of researchers studying the biology of plants and social insects in the hope of gaining new understanding of the effects of climate change and potentially improving crop production in developing regions. The greenhouse has 16 different control zones to simulate conditions in different climate zones and future climate scenarios.
Professor Lorraine Maltby, Head of the University´s Department of Animal and Plant Sciences stated: “As well as taking great strides to help solve some of the world´s most pressing environmental concerns, the Centre will also help improve the city´s biodiversity, with plants and beneficial insects being protected in the surrounding woodland.”
It is nice to see that the University is keeping its neighborhood in good shape while tackling problems across the channel and beyond.