Construction to Begin on Britain’s Most Sustainable Commercial Facility

The University of East Anglia (UEA) in Norwich, England, is about to break ground on the Norwich Research Park Enterprise Centre, an academic and office facility that promises to become the greenest commercial building in the United Kingdom.

Norwich, United Kingdom—The University of East Anglia (UEA) in Norwich, England, is about to break ground on the Norwich Research Park Enterprise Centre, an academic and office facility that promises to become the greenest commercial building in the United Kingdom.

According to CleanTechnica, Norwich officials have recently approved the project, which entails an investment of approximately £8 million (equivalent to more than $12 million).

Designed by Architype, the building will be the country’s first commercial development to obtain both Passivhaus and Breeam ‘Outsanding’ ratings. Morgan Sindall is also working on the project as main contractor, along with BDP Engineers and Churchman Landscape Architects.

Through its new center, the UEA aims to create a leading green facility capable of achieving high levels of performance across a wide range of criteria, including an ultra-low degree of embodied carbon.

“Passivhaus is all about energy and comfort, it is proven to deliver very low energy but Breeam has all the other components so it was very important to have it all,” Architype Associate Director Ben Humphries told the newspaper.

“The other thing was having very low embodied carbon. We’ve comprehensively modeled the building over a 100-year life cycle, which has really informed design choices. We’ve worked with the university’s experts and modeled the building in terms of climate change—the building has been designed to achieve the Passivhaus standard up until 2080,” added Humphries.

The building’s sustainable features include triple-glazed windows, photovoltaic panels, solar heating and mechanical ventilation. Designed as a hub for low-carbon thinking, the project will also stimulate the regional economy through the use of local natural materials and products.

Upon completion in January 2015, the center will house offices, classrooms, meeting areas and a large lecture hall. The facility will also serve as home to the Centre for the Built Environment, which will test and promote sustainable building materials.

The Norwich Research Park Enterprise Centre is partially financed by the European Union, through the European Regional Development Fund. Additional funding comes from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, Norwich Research Park, and the Building Research Establishment.

Architype is an award-winning architectural practice with offices in London and in Hereford. Led by directors Jonathan Hines and Bob Hayes, the company focuses on creating outstanding contemporary architecture using environmentally sustainable materials and methods.