184 Sqm of additional space in two new cold rooms and extension to an existing dry room
The 20-week programme, completed to schedule, gives the hugely successful Seed Bank project much needed new secure and environmentally controlled rooms for the storage and preparation of seeds and other materials. Two new modular cold rooms measuring 65sqm (11.4 x 4.7m) were built will full refrigeration works, groundworks, LED lighting, mobile storage shelving, panic alarm and temperature control systems. An existing dry room was extended by 54sqm (9.4 x 5.7m).
The purpose-built Millennium Seed Bank facility at Wakehurst in Sussex is based around a vast vault for the long-term storage of seeds for research and conservation. At present, there are more than 82,900 seed collections in the bank; representing over 37,770 species, from almost 5,800 genera and 189 different countries. Following collection in-country, seeds are prepared and dried (to around 4–6% moisture content, fresh-weight basis), before storage in deep-freeze chambers (-18 to -20°C) within the vault.
The seed collection in the Millennium Seed Bank constitutes the largest and most diverse wild plant species genetic resource in the world. In principle, seed banking is straightforward and relies on the seeds of most (about 90%) seed-bearing plant species surviving air-drying and then freezing, which extends the longevity of these so-called ‘orthodox’ seeds in predictable ways.
Keith Manger, Property, Health & Safety & Sustainability Manager at the Millennium Seed Bank, commented, “Secure I.T. Environments understood our brief very well and the significance of the work we do at the Millennium Seed Bank. They have delivered a critical piece of infrastructure that forms an important part of our work as we continue to expand the seed collections we hold.”
Chris Wellfair, Projects Director at Secure I.T. Environments added, “This has been a unique and fascinating project for us to work on. The challenges are very much like those we come across building data centres: issues such as humidity, cooling, security, storage and ultimately the preservation of the valuable contents. They all apply whether it is data, or this critically important seed project.”
About Secure I.T. Environments Ltd
Secure I.T. Environments Ltd is a UK company specialising in the design and build of energy efficient internal/external secure modular data centres, containerised data centres and its infrastructure. The company has established an enviable relationship with its clients based on trust and mutual respect by working as a team with the client and its project team.
The company offers a “Total Solutions Package” to the private, healthcare, education and government sectors, as well as co-hosting companies in the UK and offshore, by way of design, implementation and installation management services for projects from small stand-alone computer rooms to large public sector contracts and co-hosting locations and cold rooms. All rooms are designed to meet the latest test standards, now regarded as the benchmark standard for modular rooms being installed throughout the UK and Europe.
Secure I.T. Environments’ primary aim is to ensure that clients’ critical infrastructure components are protected against all external threats in a suitably protected modular room environment irrespective of whether it is a Data Centre, archive or cold room facility. To this end the company has established long-standing partnerships with its manufacturers, who are at the forefront of R&D, to ensure the highest level of physical protection and energy efficiency is maintained.
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is a world famous scientific organisation, internationally respected for its outstanding collections as well as its scientific expertise in plant diversity, conservation and sustainable development in the UK and around the world. Kew Gardens is a major international and a top London visitor attraction. Kew’s 132 hectares of landscaped gardens, and Kew’s country estate, Wakehurst, attract over 1.5 million visits every year. Kew was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2003 and celebrated its 250th anniversary in 2009. Wakehurst is home to Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank, the largest wild plant seed bank in the world. Kew receives approximately just under half of its funding from Government through the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). Further funding needed to support Kew’s vital work comes from donors, membership and commercial activity including ticket sales.