Lambeth Palace Library


System Five, a 4energy group company, was extremely gratified to be a member of the team creating the new Lambeth Palace Library. Designed by Wright and Wright Architects, the Library is the first new building on the Lambeth Palace site for almost 200 years. The original library was founded in 1610 and is the principal repository of records of the Church of England. The new building was created to house a vast collection including over 5,000 volumes of manuscripts and over 200,000 printed books. As well as preserving 1000 years of religious records for the nation, the collection also forms the oldest written history of Great Britain.


System Five’s role was to install and commission a BEMS and to develop a system and associated software capable of controlling the unusual equipment installed, whilst protecting the collection from potential damage. The Library was built in response to the need of Lambeth Palace to house their collection in a location both protected from flooding (a risk due to the library’s proximity to the River Thames), and to maintain a highly stable environment where temperature and in particular humidity varies as little as possible. The building was designed and constructed in line with the Palace’s desire to create a structure that sits as lightly as possible both in terms of the physical presence and in the environment in terms of energy consumption and carbon emissions. With this in mind a system was designed utilising highly efficient equipment including state-of-the-art air source heat pumps and very specialised HVAC (Heating Ventilating and Air Conditioning) systems that not only used a combination of desiccant wheel de-humidification but also a scheme whereby each archive (the spaces dedicated to storage of artifacts) only receives conditioning for a precise time per day rather than the normal procedure of providing constant conditioning, thus optimising energy consumption as much as possible.


In addition to needing to develop a system that would control the environment safely and with as little energy usage as possible, System Five was also required to also meet the requirements of BREAAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) ‘Excellent’ rating. This imposed additional requirements on the system in terms of energy management and in particular tracking of energy expenditure.

The design of the BEMS developed by System Five for the Library caters for the building’s changing loads, as it reacts to the environment, whilst complying with the BREAAM standards and being designed to be fully accessible via web-based tools.


As part of the overall BEMS implementation, System Five worked closely with The Library to develop an innovative design of a system that can track and control all energy management and usage elements within the entirety of the Library. Various demand-based controls and parameters including humidity, CO2, pressure, temperature, and occupancy detection were provided along with local user overrides controls using efficient methods to keep energy use to a minimum while meeting the client requirements. A number of different sensor elements and HVAC controllers were incorporated in order to achieve the strict BREEAM requirements set by the client – far more advanced and energy efficient than comparable systems for similarly facilities – especially ones which house such a wide variety of services, from the critical archives to reading rooms to office spaces.


Described by respected architectural website “Building Design” as ‘The world’s hottest project in 2020’ and “by far the most impressive new London public building of the year”, System Five is rightly proud to have played an important role in creating this significant new building.