The iCon Environmental Innovation Centre will have 55 business units, a conference centre, exhibition space and a café.

The centre has used green technologies and sustainable principles in its design and construction.

The building has a number of low carbon design features, including a natural ventilation system, exhaust air heat pumps, and ‘phase change’ panels in the ceiling that can absorb or emit heat, depending on the temperature

The central atrium will act as a heat store during winter and provide ventilation in the summer. Its roof is made of an inflatable plastic ‘ETFE’ membrane, a high performance material which has been used on developments including the Eden project and Beijing Watercube.

The iCon has won two design awards; a Green Apple Award for Architecture and the Built Environment and the Milton Keynes South Midlands Excellence Award.

iCon East Midlands chairman, David Walker, said: “The green agenda is changing the way the world does business.

“This is resulting in a range of new products, services and technologies in sectors ranging from construction to information technology. The iCon is a prestigious but affordable home for the businesses that are behind these innovations.

“But the iCon is more than just an office location – it is an international focal point for the low carbon economy. Over years to come, it will house an exciting business community, providing a hub for networking, business development and cutting edge research.”

Funding for the project came from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the East Midlands Development Agency (emda) and the West Northamptonshire Development Corporation (WNDC). Daventry District Council and Northamptonshire County Council have donated the land for the project.

The iCon team will have a stand at Ecobuild 2011 next week.

Alison Brown

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