Bord Gáis Networks, has a commitment to environmental protection, energy conservation and sustainable development and the design, materials, construction and management of the new Networks Services Centre will reflect this commitment.
The integrated sustainable design approach for the new Networks Services Centre combines microclimate, landscape, transport and a compact building volume with low energy design. The main sustainable design components of the project are:
Microclimate // The planting and topographic strategies of the landscape design work together to create an acceptable work environment within the building and pedestrian experience in the greater landscape. A 2.5 m high solid noise barrier along the M50 extends 140 m from the northeastern corner of the site to the west. Atmospheric attenuation is further enhanced by the terraced parking layout framed by staggered hedge “pods” that collectively attenuate sound without seeming visually oppressive. Within each pod, columnar beech trees provide additional wind attenuation and some shade within a compact footprint.
Water Management // The water management of the landscape strategy seeks to treat as much surface water run off on-site as possible with a series of natural attenuation and filtration areas for the car parking and a large attenuation pond to the south of the building.
Building volume, layout and orientation // The highly efficient and compact volume of the building with good volume to skin ratio reduces potential heat loss area and allows for strategic layout of both program and thermal and solar requirements.
The highly insulated façade is wrapped around the concrete structure to minimize the potential heat loss and cold bridging. The super insulated envelope of the building with a target U-Value of 0.15 exceeds current guidelines set out in Part L and allows for future upgrading to meet changing regulations and technology.
Ventilation – Displacement Ventilation // The Open Plan layout of the office accommodation requires a controlled fresh air supply to avoid draft and insufficient supply. A Displacement Ventilation system is therefore proposed for the office areas with natural ventilation for the canteen, workshops and Stores.
The Displacement Ventilation relies on natural air movement between the assisted fresh air supply at floor level and a controlled extraction via a central chimney at the apex of the folding roof. The chimney is contained within a Plant Tower and uses a natural stack effect for extraction and contains coils for heat recovery.
Natural Daylight // Artificial lighting can be a significant proportion of a building’s running costs, and maximizing the use of natural daylight is one of the main drivers of the design. The internal gardens provide natural daylight to all areas of the compact volume. All artificial lighting is controlled by detectors and dimmers responding to the external conditions and keeping electrical energy for lighting to an absolute minimum.
Space Conditioning – Radiant Slab // The heating and cooling are supplied by a closed loop ground source heat pump feeding into the radiant slab system of the building. The heating and cooling pipes set in the exposed concrete ceilings of the building dampens temperature swings through the working day and reduce the overall ventilation requirements.
Heat absorbed by the concrete ceilings is released at night reducing the heating requirement at the start of the working day. The thermal mass of the exposed concrete slab functions as a natural buffer to temperature swings generally minimizing the cooling and heating requirements of the building.
Integration of Renewable Energy Technologies // The Plant Tower integrates and displays the various components of the buildings low energy system. With 124 msq of Photovoltaic panels and Solar Water System its south elevation provides up to 10% of the buildings electricity demand.
The use of Groundwater to feed the Buildings Heat Pump for general space conditioning is being investigated and the results of a Groundwater Survey will be published shortly.