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New green building wins award before even opening

A new facility in Northern Ireland that will be dedicated towards researching green technology has already proven its credentials without even opening its doors.

The CREST (the Centre for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technologies) centre in Enniskillen has been recognised with the Sustainable Building Project of the Year award at the Sustainable Ireland awards, the Belfast Telegraph reports.

Architect Paul McAlister told the publication the building was the "most complicated" structure he had ever worked on, with the £1.2 million site designed to be super energy efficient and have as low an ecological footprint as possible.

It has managed to achieve this through a range of measures, including minimised thermal bridging, triple-glazing, air tightness, super insulation, and mechanical ventilation and heat recovery. 

The team even created a thermal model to test how effective the design was, before modifying it accordingly and applying it to the finished article.

Project engineer Sean MacDiarmada said: "The important thing was to ensure that the building was importing a lot more than it was exporting, and on paper at least it appears that we've achieved that goal, with three times as much energy going in than coming out."

Meanwhile, Mr McAlister said he was very proud of the final design, with the fact that 11 people were involved emphasising how complicated the process was.

In addition to the features already mentioned, the centre also boasts automatic controls to regulate its lighting, which work alongside daylight sensors. In addition to this, rainwater will be collected from the roof of the building and directed to the internal water system to be used to flush the toilets.

It is hoped the CREST facility will now prove to be a best practice example for how other structures should be designed, as architects and developers increasingly look to build properties with high green credentials.

Posted by Paul Taylor