CASE STUDY: The Enterprise Centre
The Enterprise Centre is a research and business school building at the University of East Anglia.
The building provides space for business support workshops, open plan office space, research and development activities for new graduate startup companies and other businesses. It also provides a base for business support through the University’s Low Carbon MBA and associated graduate development and entrepreneurship programmes operated by the Norwich Business School.
Extensive workshops were held with UEA stakeholders. A crucial part was to assess the energy impact of every design decision to ensure the Passivhaus standard was met at all design stages.
The early stages of the process established the priorities and aspirations that the Client had for the new building and surrounding grounds and identified what further detailed design work was required and who should contribute to its development (such as ongoing stakeholder engagement workshops).
For the early part of the design, at RIBA Stage D, there was a mid-design review to assess the design development against the original aspirations. This resulted in a recorded set of comments, suggestions, likes and dislikes for the design team to action as the design develops.
- Designed to achieve a 100 year lifespan.
- Embodied carbon is only a quarter that of conventionally constructed higher education buildings.
- 100% recycled subbase using a unique low carbon concrete mix in foundations, and 100% recycled newspapers in insulation.
- Excess electricity produced from the building’s PV panels is fed back to the University campus.
- Ongoing monitoring undertaken to produce annual Display Energy Certificate – A rating (22).
- A range of design scenarios were simulated in the PHPP (Passivhaus Planning Package) to identify the most robust solution over an 87 year period. The lifecycle carbon study, including embodied carbon, allowed optimisation of the building mass, glazing ratios, shading and natural ventilation design. Sensitivity analysis was carried out for both a warming and cooling scenario.
- Analysis concluded high material mass would be effective for controlled heat gains, however not at the expense of LCA (Life Cycle Assessment). In response a low carbon, high mass solution was chosen.
- Local natural materials are used in the building include Norfolk flint, hemp fabric, re-processed glass, re-purposed mahogany benches, reclaimed oak, clay plaster and nettle boards. Thanks to these innovations and bio-based materiality approach, the Enterprise Centre’s embodied carbon is only a quarter that of conventionally constructed higher education buildings.
- A continuous air tightness layer is detailed around the building. Super-thick insulation is wrapped all the way around the building in a ‘duvet’ layer.
- Triple glazed windows allow beneficial solar gain and good daylighting as well as good levels of insulation.
- Mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR) is used to provide fresh air to all spaces.
- Additional summer ventilation is provided by opening windows and louvres, stack effect and high-level exhaust. The building’s receptionist manages the night cooling, ensuring vents are opened at night to cool the building.
- The building has 50kW of roof mounted PVs, which exceeds the local planning requirement for 10% of the building’s energy to be from renewables. 31.9% of the building’s electricity comes from renewables.
- Rated BREEAM Outstanding and achieved an in-use DEC A rating (22); annual energy use is 30kWh/m2/year for electricity and 19kWh/m2/year for heat.
- Passivhaus certification required ongoing monitoring of energy use during the first year. Full soft landings approach was undertaken with three year post-occupancy evaluations to ensure the building performed at its optimum from the outset.
For further information:
Please contact: Richard Bettle (EST – Staff)