Consarc completes new energy-efficient innovation centre in Northamptonshire
The 4,000-sq-m iCon building is a BREEAM Excellent exemplar project which uses 12.2 kg of CO2/m2/yr and showcases the feasibility of achieving maximum energy efficiency and zero carbon status via sustainable design, construction techniques and integration of renewable energy technologies. It is an excellent example of the public sector delivering a sustainable building, the quality of which goes some way to delivering a step change in how the local area is perceived.
The Innovation Centre was born out of a competition to create an iconic building to showcase and provoke innovative thinking and technology in a sustainable manner within a suitable setting.
It utilises innovative features such as a timber frame construction, passive ventilation systems, efficient heat recovery and the first commercial application of DuPontTM Energain phase-change materials to limit overheating. The inclusion of an Exhaust air heat pump in association with extract ventilation reduced the cost of the M&E installation, EAHP + Passive Measures, providing a net saving of £80sqm on Mechanical Installations.
A key design feature of the design is the responsive showcase façade, constructed from sustainable timber.
The iCon comprises three blocks: the incubator wing includes 54 flexible commercial units, the central treble height EFTE covered 'street', which provides exhibition space for all of the small businesses to showcase their products. The third building is the principal curved block, which contains a lecture theatre for 300 people, a café and meeting facilities.
The client's brief for the project had 5 essential requirements: to provide a supportive environment for small businesses innovating in the area of construction, alongside a space that can also be used by the local community; to act as the ‘kick-start' development to a larger social and economic planning policy master plan to redevelop the canal and basin area of Daventry; to achieve environmental performance of Breeam ‘Excellent'; to minimise its carbon use to a maximum of 15kg/C0² per annum; and to champion and enact these goals ‘in-use' through active monitoring of the building.
Adaptability of the space is crucial; in a bid to extend its maximum lifetime, the building is capable of lending itself to changing functional and spatial needs. Its flexible conference and exhibition spaces are being used by the local community for events and performances.