Irish company to build UK’s largest sustainable commercial building

27 Jun 2014

How the completed NRP Enterprise Centre might look

Irish construction company Cygnum has been awarded the contract to build the UK’s largest sustainable commercial building, the University of East Anglia’s (UEA) new enterprise centre with the project costing €12.5m.

Due to be completed in 2015, the building to be known as the Norwich Research Park (NRP) Enterprise Centre will be a 4,600 metre-square timber frame building, to be delivered by UEA’s Adapt Low Carbon Group.

Morgan Sindall will construct the building, which is to be the UK’s first commercial building to achieve both Passivhaus and BREEAM Outstanding standards, the most rigorous, sustainable built environment standards. 

Estimates for the lifecycle of the building is about 100 years, and it will be considered a carbon sink for the area, drawing carbon dioxide into the building’s structure as a further carbon offset.

As part of the contract, Cygnum will be installing cellulose insulation manufactured from recycled newspaper, while Morgan Sindall will be using a low embodied energy alternative to standard insulation sourcing the used newspaper from local schools to further reduce environmental impact.

The Irish company has previously worked in the UK Cygnum through its UK office since 2007 and has delivered a number of low-energy buildings, including houses, apartments, care homes and schools, including the award-winning Passivhaus Oakmeadow Primary school. The firm is currently building London’s first Passivhaus school.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic