The Technology Centre will be located at Baglan Energy Park in Swansea Bay; a 180 acre park and one of Wales’ premier business and industrial locations.
It will be one of only a few net-positive buildings in the region, creating more energy than it produces.
The three-storey hybrid building will provide a range of flexible office space to support start-up companies and indigenous business growth with a focus on innovation and R&D companies. It will neighbour the Canolfan Arloesi Bae Baglan Bay Innovation Centre, also located at the park.
Morgan Sindall Construction has won a £7.9 million contract to deliver the new energy positive building for Neath Port Talbot Council.
The local authority has commissioned the new facility as part of its £58 million Supporting Innovation and Low Carbon Growth programme. It will be part-funded by the major £1.8 billion regional investment project, the Swansea City Bay Deal. The scheme will also receive support from the European Regional Development Fund.
Due to its exemplary sustainability credentials, the design has been given a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ certification. Classed as energy positive, the building will demonstrate world-leading green technology capabilities by offsetting more carbon than it produces.
Morgan Sindall Construction is working with architectural, engineering and design consultants, IBI Group, and Hydrock, to achieve this sustainability standard. The building is set to achieve an energy performance ratio of 0.998; a 281% improvement over building regulations.
Described within the tender agreement as a “small power station”, excess energy from the building, provided by solar and other renewable technologies, will be converted into hydrogen at the nearby Hydrogen Centre, run by the University of South Wales, and used to fuel hydrogen vehicles.
Inside will be 2,500 square metres of mixed-use space for flexible office and laboratory work, as well as a reception and atrium on the first floor. There will also be a small integrated plant room and external transformer house.
The building will use eco-friendly construction materials, including specialised photovoltaic panels along the exterior walls and roof. These are designed to look like cladding while allowing for a more pleasing aesthetic. The design will also utilise the thermal mass of the exposed precast floor slabs to store and transfer heat from the building for a cost-effective heating solution.
Outside will be a new car park for staff and office users, as well as a cycle shed to encourage the use of environmentally friendly transport methods. Landscaping will also be carried out to install a mix of grass and wildflowers to the site. Following ecological assessment, construction has been timed to avoid disrupting local wildlife and ensure the site’s biodiversity is protected.
The main contractor has procured the project through the £1 billion South West Wales Regional Contractors Framework
Construction began recently and is scheduled to complete in late 2021. All work will comply with the construction leadership council’s operating guidelines for safe delivery during Covid-19.
Rob Williams, area director for Morgan Sindall Construction, said:
We are really pleased to be working with the council on such a transformational project for the Swansea Bay area. The City Deal represents an ambitious investment into the key innovation sectors, and the new centre will open up a wealth of opportunities for both start-ups and established businesses within the region.
“The Swansea Bay region is already a trailblazer in sustainable design, having established the UK’s first energy positive office just two years ago. We’re relishing the opportunity to continue this legacy as exemplar projects like this are vital if the construction industry is to reduce its carbon footprint. In collaboration with our project partners, we have worked to utilise as many eco-friendly materials as possible, and are looking forward to delivering a building which will fit the needs of both the local community, and the wider UK vision for a greener, cleaner future.”