Celebrating darkness in the UK’s greenest building

  • Year: 2017
  • Location: Norwich
  • Design: BDP Lighting
  • Architect: Architype

The Enterprise Centre at the University of East Anglia is a feat of sustainable construction. Made up of 70% bio-based material and designed to last 100 years, the building was awarded both the Passivhaus and BREEAM Outstanding accreditation, as well as a number of industry awards, dubbing it the ‘greenest commercial building in the UK’. All but one light fitting used inside the building was supplied by Fagerhult.

The client needed a supplier that could offer all products and technology under one roof, and Fagerhult was able to fulfil the need by offering products from Fagerhult and other brands within the Fagerhult group.

Paramount for the success of the project, and in line with BREEAM and Passivhaus requirements, was an energy efficient solution across the board.

Although a complex and multifaceted project, the lighting brief for the Enterprise Centre was in fact very simple – harnessing daylight and utilising darkness to provide a domestic environment while keeping energy and carbon consumption to an absolute minimum.

Fagerhult was fully involved in the design process, putting forward luminaires and suggesting the construction of bespoke solutions that would fit the brief and comply with Passivhaus and BREEAM accreditation requirements.

Custom built localised lighting was integrated into the building’s controls system, and it was regulated by daylight and occupants’ movements ensuring no wastage of light and allowing for light to be used solely when needed. The solution also meant that lighting was controlled seamlessly by each occupant, helping people make the space their own.

The use of natural light with minimal and strategically placed luminaires resulted in a reduction of 80% in the usable energy of the lighting system as well as reducing the electrical infrastructure embodied carbon by over 40%. Both parameters were fundamental in securing the Passivhaus and BREEAM accreditations.

By harnessing both daylight and darkness, the Enterprise Centre has deepened people’s relationship with their lighting while ensuring that wellbeing of students and occupants is at the forefront of the design ambitions.

The Enterprise Centre is now not only a sustainability exemplar but also a building that people truly enjoy spending time in.