The Erne Campus of South West College, designed by Hamilton Architects, has been recognised as a UN Centre of Excellence for High Performance Buildings.
The £30m facility, which opened in September, is among the most environmentally friendly in the world, boosting both Passive House Premium and BREEAM Outstanding accreditations.
Now it has officially joined 25 other buildings around the world – including the Buildings Energy Exchange (BE-Ex) New York, the Green Building Alliance, Pittsburgh, and the Zero Emissions Building Exchange, Vancouver – as an exemplar of green construction.
Thanks to the green design, South West College will enjoy very low energy usage, particularly in heating costs which will reduce to practically zero. The sustainability strategy includes photo voltaic panels on the roof, heat exchangers, bio fuel boiler, water collection and recycling, and electric car charging points in the car parks.
Dr Barry McCarron, head of business development at SWC, told BBC NI that the campus had now become a kind of living laboratory for the 800 full-time and 2000 part-time students who go there.
“In almost all disciplines, we’re getting into this area of sustainability, where we can influence things,” said Dr McCarron. “Even in hair and beauty, we’re looking at some of the chemicals that are in. So this is a real legacy from the building.
“For the construction students in particular, they’re getting exposed to all sorts of opportunities, particularly travel within the Passive House community globally. But also with the technologies that are available in the building itself.”