Designed by Stride Treglown, Swansea University’s newly opened £9 million, 3968m² Energy Safety Research Institute (ESRI) has received an Outstanding BREEAM rating.
ESRI combines world-class research and faculty with flexible lecture facilities and general teaching space. Funding for the project was secured from the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund through Central Government.
ESRI forms part of the 27000m² Engineering Quarter Stride Treglown has delivered at the University’s new Bay Campus site. This involves £60 million of new build projects including ESRI and a £22 million Innovation Hub which, last week, became the third of four buildings to be granted Practical Completion.
The Innovation Hub was designed by Hopkins and Stride Treglown worked on the project as executive architects. All the projects operated on a BIM level 2 platform using Revit for architecture. The work builds on Swansea University’s capital projects framework which won the 2012 Constructing Excellence Wales Integration and Collaborative Working award.
The building is the centrepiece of Swansea University’s research into renewable and alternative energy production, and will provide a focus to its work in this innovative and important field.
The Institute is supported by industry sponsors and will focus on the safety issues surrounding the development and expansion of existing energy processes, as well as the safe deployment and integration of new ‘green’ energy technologies. This builds on the existing long-term strengths within College of Engineering in the area of petroleum and chemical processing, particularly in terms of computational science (rock fracture modelling) and corrosion.
It is supplemented by more recent research success in marine energy, nuclear, tidal, advanced water treatment (‘fracking’ post-treatment and separation), materials, crisis management and more novel areas such as photovoltaic (PV) and nanotechnology.
ESRI accommodates a showcase lecture theatre, high quality offices, communal areas, meeting rooms, research offices, scientific testing and experimental laboratories. All areas except the lecture theatre are naturally ventilated with a combination of opening windows or acoustic passive ventilation units to the main open plan research hubs in response to the traffic noise from the busy main road into Swansea. A displacement ventilation distribution system provides conditioned air for the lecture theatre.
High environmental performance is fundamental to the design. The building’s orientation, layout and natural ventilation help to achieve passive low energy.
In addition it incorporates a micro CHP unit as well as solar PV, rainwater harvesting and full LED lighting. The design has looked to improve the building thermal envelope performance through passive design (reducing air permeability, U-values and g-values) primarily and has subsequently included additional options to reduce energy consumption and to use and recover energy efficiently. In addition to architecture, Stride Treglown’s landscape architects worked on the project.
Pierre Wassenaar, Regional Director at Stride Treglown commented:
“The Stride Treglown team had to guide the project through various hurdles including contaminated land, a breakneck programme, BREEAM requirements and a 30m wave tank, so we are very pleased that, after 3 years of work, the ESRI design has delivered on all levels and is now operational.”
Dr Miles Willis, Project Director College of Engineering added:
“The close working relationship between end user and architect throughout the project has been pivotal in ensuring that ESRI is not only delivered on time and on budget but also is fit for our needs”