Approval has been given for the construction of the Norwich Enterprise Centre, an 8 million UK pound development launched by the University of East Anglia which is set to be the UK’s best commercial green building.
Green architecture firm Architype has obtained permission from Norwich councillors to proceed with the project, which will become the first commercial development in Britain to obtain both Passivhaus and BREEAM Outstanding ratings.
The building will be home to academic and commercial offices while also serving as home to the Centre for the Built Environment, which will test sustainable building materials and promote their usage.
The project will feature a broad range of energy efficiency and sustainability measures, including triple-glazed windows, photovoltaic panels, solar heating and mechanical ventilation.
In addition to efficiency measures for enhancing energy performance throughout the life of the building, the project will use natural materials such timber and glulam frames fitted with prefabricated straw and reed cladding panels.
Architype associate director Ben Humphries said the explicit goal of the University of East Anglia when pursuing the project was to create one of Britain’s leading green buildings, capable of achieving high performance levels across a range of criteria.
“It was very important for the client to achieve both Passivhaus and Breeam,” he said.
“Passivhaus is all about energy and comfort…but Breeam has other components so it was very important to have it all.”
The team behind the project includes experts from the university who have created models to predict the performance of the building under climate change conditions.
Humphries says the resulting design should ensure the building satisfies Passivhaus standards until 2080.
The Enterprise Centre is part of the initial stage of development for broader expansions that the University of East Anglia is currently undertaking.
Funding is being provided by a number of sources, including the Norwich Research Park, the Building Research Establishment, the European Regional Development Fund and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.
In addition to Architype, the team for the development also includes BDP Engineers and Churchman Landscape Architects. Work on the building is slated to commence in the British summer, with a scheduled opening date of January 2015.