BRE Innovation Park, Watford

Type of works: supply and installation of SolarWall® and Corus Colourcoat Prisma®.

Striving for zero carbon, The NHS has set itself a target of achieving zero carbon buildings by 2018 and Corus has been helping to deliver these ambitions with the refurbishment of a healthcare centre at BRE Innovation Park, Watford, through the introduction of renewable technologies.

The project includes a vertically laid SolarWall® feature, using Corus Colorcoat Prisma®, retrofitted over an existing wood cladding system to heat ventilation air for consulting rooms on the top floor. This system alone, which is part of a wider solution to reduce heating costs and CO2 emissions, will contribute to enabling the refurbished building to save more than 3,546kWh in energy and an estimated two tonnes of CO2 per year.

The principle of using SolarWall® at BRE Innovation Park was simple. Supplied and installed by CA Group as an additional skin to the buildings southerly facing elevation, SolarWall® harnesses solar radiation to heat ambient air via a perforated collector. Solar heated air is drawn from the external surface of the collector, through the perforations, before being distributed into the building where it is used directly as building ventilation or as a pre-heater for the buildings main heating system – reducing the amount of energy required to heat the building and associated CO2 emissions.

SolarWall® is suited to most building types and can be used in new build or retrofit projects, with payback on investment typically being achieved within three years for the former and seven years for the latter. It commonly provides a 50% reduction in heating costs with much improved air quality – a key criteria in healthcare buildings.

Originally designed for roof and wall cladding systems, Colorcoat Prisma® pre-finished steel was the product of choice for the additional skin of the SolarWall® system on the Centre. It facilitates a very streamlined construction process due to its flexibility, durability and ease of handling, and has guaranteed quality and sustainable credentials. Manufactured using the most advanced technology available, the quality of Colorcoat Prisma® is backed by BBA certification for a life expectancy in excess of 40 years, exceeding all other manufacturers by 15 years.

Using Colorcoat Prisma®, the SolarWall® was manufactured through Corus and CA Group, and met the sustainable sourcing criteria for BREEAM with all manufacturing sites having environmental management systems certified to ISO14001. It was entirely born and bred in the UK for a low carbon footprint with transport kept to a minimum, and as a steel based system is 100% recyclable at its end of life.

The sustainable credentials of Colorcoat Prisma® are further extended through Corus Confidex Sustain® which, in addition to guaranteeing the appearance of the pre-finished steel for up to 25 years, maintenance free with no inspections required, also provides a carbon neutral cladding system.

Its zero carbon status through Confidex Sustain® has been awarded as a result of being able to ensure full traceability and composition information for all elements of the pre-finished steel and cladding system. Any CO2 emissions generated during production, installation and upkeep of systems – from cradle to cradle - have been determined and will be offset in audited projects worldwide, ensuring the building is as efficient in practice as it was in design.

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