The £8.5 million centre has been built to help develop Northamptonshire’s low carbon construction expertise.

It is owned and operated by the University of Northampton and will be home to up to 55 small and growing businesses specialising in green technologies and the emerging market of sustainable construction.

The centre’s first tenants, include Demeuria World, a Luxembourg company specialising in luxury sustainable eco wood frame houses.

The iCon is a beacon of energy efficiency in its own right and it has achieved an ‘excellent’ rating from BREEAM.

The building uses renewable energy and incorporates innovative features that reduce the need for heating and air conditioning, such as customised heat pumps and an inflatable ETFE roof. As a result, the building will produce CO2 emissions of only 12.2kg/m2/year.

It has also been constructed with timber from a sustainable forest and uses five times less energy to produce than concrete and six times less than steel.

Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership, the body responsible for driving economic development in the county, is one of the key partners in the development of the iCon Centre.

The Partnership’s head of investment, Tim Bagshaw, said: “In Northamptonshire, we are committed to supporting and developing low carbon expertise and the iCon is a vital part of this.

“The county is experiencing the fastest levels of housing and population growth in the UK outside of London and there is a real opportunity for construction to be done in a sustainable way.

“The iCon is perfectly positioned to support some of the new and growing businesses that will be central to this with business accommodation designed specially with them in mind.”

A consortium of Northants and East Midlands regional partners worked together to fund iCon including 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 donated the land for the project.

Alison Brown

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