Adapt develops ‘UK’s greenest commercial building’

A new project at the University of East Anglia is being dubbed the UK's greenest commercial building, thanks to a range of innovative low-carbon design and maintenance initiatives.


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The Enterprise Centre, developed by the Adapt Low Carbon Group, will house a 300-seat lecture theatre and an innovation lab, but has less than a quarter of the embodied carbon impact of a normal building due to the sustainable sourcing of its main components. (Scroll down for gallery).

The £11.6m centre incorporates 98% recycled steel in its reinforced concrete foundations, and repurposes 58 tonnes of recycled newspapers as insulation.

A thatched roof is not only a tip-of-the-cap to East Anglian heritage, but also a sustainable option in its own right. The thick layers of straw and other dried vegetation are naturally insulating, and easily grown and harvested especially when compared with the embedded carbon in roofing alternatives such as slate.

The site will also draw much of its power from 480m2 of solar panels, which will supply 43.58Mwh in the first year of use.

The centre has been developed by in close partnership with construction, infrastructure and design company Morgan Sindall and architects Architype. It is due to be completed in May 2015, and is on track to achieve the highest possible sustainability building standards, including the ‘BREEAM Outstanding’ and ‘Passivhaus’ certifications.

Low-carbon construction

Project director and chief executive of Adapt, Dr John French, said: “It’s fantastic to have reached this milestone in developing UK’s greenest commercial building. Working from the foundations up, The Enterprise Centre is redefining low-carbon sustainable construction in every aspect of the development.

“The building celebrates the area’s great natural landscapes of rolling fields and trees, and it embraces its natural resources using Corsican timber from Thetford Forrest and reed from Norfolk and Suffolk creating ‘East Anglia in building’.”

The project was funded by UEA, the European Regional Development Fund, BBSRC, New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership and the Buildings Research Establishment.

GALLERY: Building the UK’s greenest commercial building

 

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Brad Allen

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