Wales Low/Zero Carbon award
Constructing Excellence 2012
Conscious about energy
Business incubators are often alive with the buzz of people hard at work, but their buildings don’t have to consume the same amount of energy. Funded as part of the Interreg IVB EU demonstration project – an initiative that encourages low energy and sustainable design in industrial buildings – the Blaenau Gwent Regain building is a 500sqm space, designed with sustainability in mind. Formerly the Ebbw Vale Steelworks, this £1.25m facility proves industrial sites can be transformed into locally sourced, environmentally conscious and modern offices.
Designed to be a BREEAM ‘excellent’ rated building, a number of low carbon technologies were explored during the design stage, together with high performance and sustainable construction materials. Design decisions were informed at each stage by the output of a range of prediction tools, providing a parametric style sensitivity analysis. Through the use of locally sourced materials, the resulting building has a very high performance envelope, very good natural lighting conditions, low embodied energy and low predicted energy consumption.
Materials and design
The superstructure was completed using Durisol blocks made from recycled timber, concrete infill and integral insulation, clad externally with castellated and locally sourced sweet chestnut vertical timber sections to create a modular appearance along its facade. The roof was formed using timber SIPS with Baduer green roof system located above. A bike shelter/bin store was created on the site to compliment the main building design, similarly detailed to the roof canopy on which 53sqm of PV is located. Sustainable technologies include air source heat pumps, solar thermals, photo-voltaic panels, electric car charging points, natural ventilation and day lighting.
This project demonstrates that high performance can be achieved without the use of sophisticated systems, unnecessary operational and maintenance complexities or compromising design.