Brimelow McSweeney Architects have completed the new Sports Centre for Leicester University with BREEAM Excellent rating. The Centre has been designed to achieve the highest possible Sustainable Design and BREEAM ratings. A key feature of the scheme was the Environmental Design. To achieve an Excellent rating for such a notoriously energy hungry building as a sports facility with a swimming pool has been a significant achievement that all involved can be duly proud of. Flashy ‘eco-bling’ has been avoided in favour of a principle of passive design, heat recovery and low energy usage as the main focus.
The building includes a number of environmental features. An 'Air to Water Heat Pump' recovers waste heat from the mechanical cooling process, when natural ventilation is insufficient, to preheat both the domestic hot water and swimming pool water. In theory heat generated from the Gym occupants during working out will go towards providing hot water for them showering alter. In addition to heat recovery mode, the heat pump is controlled to provide heating when the ambient air temperature, results in it being more carbon efficient means of heating than the gas fired condensing boilers.
Under-floor heating installed to ground floor areas making full using of low grade heating from High Efficiency Gas Fired Condensing Boilers. Air handling units are installed with either thermal wheels or cross flow plate exchangers to enable the recovery of heating or cooling from the exhaust air ventilation.
Mixed mode ventilation provided to fitness areas make full use of free cooling and passive ventilation from natural ventilation during low ambient temperature periods, while rainwater harvesting serves the W.C.s and urinals.
Solar panels on the roof to provide a significant proportion of the electrical load. An integrated Building Management System, with a remote monitor at reception to allow staff and visitors to see the live energy use and encourage lean practices.