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Architype gets go-ahead for 'UK's greenest building'

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Norwich Enterprise Centre is UK’s first commercial building with Passivhaus and Breeam ‘Outstanding’ rating

Architype has secured planning permission for the UK’s first commercial building to achieve both a Passivhaus and Breeam ‘Outstanding’ rating.

Norwich councillors gave the go-ahead to the Enterprise Centre at the University of East Anglia. The building has been dubbed “the greenest building in the UK” and will provide academic and office space for the low-carbon sector.

A Centre for the Built Environment based at the building will test sustainable construction products and promote the use of sustainable materials and design to small businesses.

Start-ups in the low-carbon sector will be offered office space at the Enterprise Centre to receive help with development and to build links between university students and local businesses.

The centre will be built using a timber and glulam frame fitted with prefabricated straw and reed cladding panels. Sustainable features include mechanical ventilation with heat recovery, triple-glazed windows, photovoltaic panels and solar heating.

Ben Humphries, associate director at Architype, said: “It was very important for the client to achieve both Passivhaus and Breeam. 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.

“The other thing was having very low embodied carbon. We’ve comprehensively modelled the building over a 100 year life cycle which has really informed design choices.

“We’ve worked with the university’s experts and modelled the building in terms of climate change – the building has been designed to achieve the Passivhaus standard up until 2080.”

The Enterprise Centre will form the first phase of a wider development at the university. Outline planning permission was also granted for an additional 5,700sq m of business and academic facilities.

Funding for the project has come from a range of sources including the European Regional Development Fund, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, Norwich Research Park and the Building Research Establishment.

Construction is expected to start this summer to allow the centre to open in January 2015. The project team also includes BDP Engineers, contractor Morgan and Churchman Landscape Architects.

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