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RSUA Sustainability Award goes to CREST

your independent energy partner

RSUA Sustainability Award goes to CREST

SDS Energy | your independent energy partner

With BREEAM assistance from SDS, Paul McAlister Architects have won the Sustainability Category at the recent Royal Society of Ulster Architects (RSUA) Awards for the CREST pavilion building.

CREST – Centre for Renewable Energy & Sustainable Technologies is truly deserving of the recognition. The pavillion is one of the most sustainable buildings in the UK and Ireland and meeting the Passive House, BREEAM Excellent and Carbon Neutral building standards.

The ethos of the CREST centre is to create a sustainable technology research facility that can benefit others, by the technologies designed and tested there. The CREST pavilion building has the purpose of being a demonstration building for the pioneering design principals and construction methods adopted in it. It is an exemplar working model for other construction schemes.

It is designed using all the principles of Passive House design and is the first educational building in Northern Ireland to have Passive House Certification.

With assistance from SDS and meeting the standards set out by BRE, CREST achieved the much sought after BREEAM rating of ‘Excellent’.

CREST Centre

Distinguished by 3 key sustainable credentials:

1. Passive House Certified for energy efficient fabric and ventilation system.
2. BREEAM Excellent in terms of the BRE sustainable benchmark for UK commercial buildings.
3. Zero Carbon i.e. The building can provide, by renewable energy, it own source of heat and lighting. (regulated energy use).

Whilst a combination of two of these sustainable criteria has been carried out in other parts of the UK, this is the first example of a combination of all three. The combination of these credentials, integrated with the appropriate renewable technology makes this project a shining example of sustainable development.

Paul McAlister Architects adopted a ‘fabric first’ approach to the design to ensure the use of renewable energy technology has maximum benefit. This project incorporates solar PV panels to generate electric with mechanical ventilation with heat recovery to ‘transfer’ heat from the stale air being extracted into the fresh air brought in. The consistent temperature and appropriate air exchange prevents moisture build up and creates a comfortable indoor environment. During the design process a thermal model of the building allowed the design to be modified and tested to ensure it would meet the desired target energy rating of 15kWh/m2.annum.

A major innovation for this research facility was the ability of the design team to integrate the Passive House principles and BREEAM guidelines into the design to produce a zero carbon building. It was pertinent to use a combination of sustainable design criteria when designing as it reflected the ethos of the brief set out by CREST and the architects desire to create a project that had inherently sustainable credentials at its heart, creating a target for other construction projects in the future.

The scheme is constructed on a brown field site using low environmental impact materials. It is heated using a 2.5 – 3.5 Kw air source heat pump and illuminated using low energy LED lighting both powered by photovoltaic panels. This allows the building to have zero levels of CO2 emissions for regulated energy use.

The Building reflects the innovative aspiration of the CREST project and acts as a demonstration building and showcase for the new technologies on display. This is a landmark building in terms of sustainable credentials for Northern Ireland, Ireland and the UK.