• 12 November 2018

Setting a benchmark for Sustainability

Nottingham Trent University (NTU) has constructed the Confetti Institute of Creative Technologies’ new Digital Media Hub, an innovative seven-storey new build setting the benchmark for creative social spaces within the education sector.

As one of the most forward-thinking higher education institutions in the UK, NTU is currently embarking on a significant capital investment in its Estate which will give rise to a series of new build, refurbishment and re-development projects over the next five years.

Located in the centre of the University’s ‘Creative Quarter’, the Hub is set to become the Confetti Institute’s main site and will provide more media, film and theatre courses for students at both college and degree level.

In an open collaboration with award-winning Allan Joyce Architects, the development will include contemporary classrooms, a spacious Learning Resource Centre with private study facilities, computer laboratory and cafe. Students will benefit from bio-diversity green-roofs by the inclusion of a courtyard on the first floor and roof terraces on the fifth and roof floors.

Waterman were appointed to provide mechanical and electrical engineering services for the build. The scheme’s targeted BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating was achieved through careful consideration of the buildings envelop, air tightness and engineering systems. Early studies reviewed the possibility of using the Nottingham City Centre heat and power district heating network, but it quickly became apparent that running cost efficiencies could not offset the expenses of extending the mains supply to the site, based nearly a kilometre away.

In order to meet NTU’s key requirements for a low energy build, our team decided to review available technologies that could provide as efficient a system as possible, introducing the first exposed mechanical and electrical services within the scheme.

Our team carried out a passive design report for the BREEAM assessment, which also included climate change adaptation methods. This highlighted great benefit from using exposed thermal mass, night time purge ventilation and demand-lead ventilation control techniques whilst mechanically cooling the internal areas. Mixing these normally passive design methods with highly efficient mechanical heating and cooling systems, the predicted overall energy usage would be 39% lower than a building which complied with current building regulations. This produced a ‘A’ rated Energy Performance Certificated building with a minimum BREEAM target of ‘Excellent’.

The team’s collaborative fabric-first approach, on-site generation of electricity and heat recovery on all ventilation systems has produced a world-class teaching facility with an extremely low energy footprint.

Jonathan Purcell, Director of Building Services in Nottingham, commented; “We are delighted to be involved with NTU in such an innovative and advanced multi-media teaching facility that continues to push the boundaries of what is the ‘norm’ for universities. In order to produce world-leading talent in the music and media industries, you need to have world-beating facilities, and the new Confetti development certainly delivers.”

The Hub opened its door to students in October 2018.

Waterman has also been appointed by NTU on a 4-year consultancy services framework.

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