William Gates Building, Cambridge

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William Gates Building
University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory.jpg
General information
Status Complete
Address 15 JJ Thompson Avenue
Completed 2001
Cost £20 million
Owner University of Cambridge
Top floor 2
Awards and prizes Bronze Green Impact Award
The William Gates Building in West Cambridge.

The William Gates Building, or WGB for short, is a square building that houses the Computer Laboratory at the University of Cambridge, on the University's West Cambridge site in JJ Thomson Avenue south of the Madingley Road in Cambridge, England.[1][2][3] Construction on the building began in 1999 and was completed in 2001 at a cost of £20 million. It was named after the father of Microsoft founder Bill Gates, William Gates (the second). The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation provided 50% of the money for the building's construction.

In August 2014, the William Gates Building bike shed was enhanced with a security fence, which gained the bikeshed the nickname of The Alcatraz Bikeshed.

Energy efficiency[edit]

The William Gates Building claims to be the most energy-efficient building in the portfolio of the University of Cambridge.[4] It currently has an energy rating of D-, thanks, in-part to the following measures:

  • Aggressive sleep scheduling of desktop computers.
  • Use of a chilled-beam convection-based cooling system, with Oventrop valves, to cool rooms in the summer, and warm the floor above in the winter.
  • Turning off lights in corridors, and The Street, in hours of darkness.
  • Encouragement to use the stairs, not the lift, when not carrying items.
  • Installation of energy-reporting power distribution units, and power-recording plugs.
  • A policy of not buying microwaves with a clock, thereby reducing power use by almost one watt.
  • Installing timers on coffee machines, so they turn off after 5 minutes of use.
  • Switch me off stickers on light switches.
  • Dimmed lights in the lifts

See also[edit]


Coordinates: 52°12′39″N 0°05′31″E / 52.210925°N 0.092022°E / 52.210925; 0.092022 (William Gates Building, Cambridge)