A new Enterprise Centre to be built on the Norwich Research Park at the University of East Anglia (UEA) with innovative use of natural materials and the most advanced approaches to low carbon is set to be a major stimulus to the region’s economy and to the UK low carbon sector.
Setting new standards
The Enterprise Centre will be housed in a new building of up to 4000 square metres, scheduled to be built in 2013 and opened the following year. A design competition will take place with the aim of producing a building that is architecturally distinguished as well as demonstrating the highest levels of energy performance and lowest carbon footprint of any facility yet built.
Project Director Dr John French, Chief Executive of the Low Carbon Innovation Centre and of InCrops Enterprise Hub, both based at UEA and part of the new centre, said the project was aiming high. “This will be a first in the UK University and business sectors, further advancing UEA’s low carbon credentials and setting new standards in building concept and design through the innovative use of natural materials and bio-based products. It will provide leadership and inspiration to businesses and entrepreneurs,” he said.
Other collaborators in the project, which aims to achieve BREEAM Outstanding and Passivhaus Certification, are BRE and the Fraunhofer Institute and Kingston University, which bring unique contributions in the field of sustainable materials, new technologies and design.
The building will host a new Centre for the Built Environment with an area dedicated to showcasing, monitoring and testing new sustainable products and bio-based materials from local companies. It will be used as the main demonstration project for the regional low carbon strategy to exemplify best practice in low carbon materials and design to the small business sector.
In addition, it will house an early stage incubator for new start-up businesses to further enhance opportunities for UEA graduates and encourage staff across the NRP to start their own businesses.
The NRP Enterprise Centre will create an important focal point for engagement with industry and commerce with every stage of the project being monitored and its low carbon performance reported and disseminated.