Enterprise culture

University of East Anglia is setting the benchmark high for sustainable construction and is sharing developments in a case study via BSRIA.

20th September 2016

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BSRIA was delighted to support delivery of an innovative new Enterprise Centre, providing the gateway building to the University of East Anglia (UEA) campus. BSRIA support included cursory investigation of innovative materials, life cycle costing, airtightness testing, thermal imaging, post occupancy evaluation (POE) and Soft Landings.

The Enterprise Centre is the latest pioneer building for UEA, following in the footsteps of the Elizabeth Fry Building, the Zuckerman Institute and the Julian Study Centre. BREEAM outstanding was achieved with a 93 per cent rating and now Passivhaus certification is being targeted. The building has been built on a brownfield site using 70 per cent bio-based materials, many of which have been sourced locally.

It exceeds local planning requirements for 10 per cent of the building’s energy to be from renewables, with a 480 mroof-mounted photovoltaic array, predicted to generate 44 MWh a year. Over the lifetime of the building, the embodied carbon is predicted to be one quarter that of a conventionally constructed building.

The two-storey 3,400 m2 building is the new home for the Adapt Low Carbon Group, which was created to commercialise graduate start-up firms that have grown out of UEA’s world-class environmental sciences departments. Adapt wanted its new facilities to be an exemplar of sustainability.

The building is wrapped in thatch: this traditional Norfolk roofing material is formed of 250 mm thick layers of straw set in prefabricated, vertically-hanging timber cassettes – a world first according to Morgan Sindall’s senior site manager Ken Bassett. The thatch holds, for 100 years or so, carbon absorbed by plants photosynthesising, providing a good carbon negative local material.