World leading sustainable Erne Campus, designed by Hamilton Architects, wins RICS Awards UK Project of the Year

Project of the Year Award winner Erne Campus South West College copy

Erne Campus of South West College, designed by Hamilton Architects, has been named UK Project of the Year at the RICS Awards 2022.

The awards final, held in London, also saw Erne Campus named as Best Public Sector Project out of 12 regional finalists.

Another Hamilton Architects project, the School House, Methodist College, was a finalist in the Heritage category at national level.

The RICS Awards, held this year at The Londoner hotel in Leicester Square and hosted by broadcaster Helen Fospero, celebrate the UK’s most inspirational projects.

Completed at a cost of £34m, Erne Campus is officially the world’s first educational – and currently the largest – Passive House Premium rated building.

Chair of the judging panel, David Brooks-Wilson FRICS, said that Erne Campus “represents an exemplar of how despite many obstacles that it needed to overcome, the project also scores highly in the social value.

“Not only has it generated a centre for excellence for local students of the built environment as a core curriculum subject, it has also raised the profile and the pride in all its inhabitants and neighbours in an area that has suffered much in recent times.”

The 8,000sqm state-of-the-art project in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, is the first building in the UK to achieve both PHP status and BREEAM outstanding accreditations.

The facility has been recognised as one of 26 UN Centres of Excellence for High Performance Buildings, ranking alongside the Apple 2 campus in California.

Mark Haslett, Hamilton Partner and lead designer, said: “Erne Campus is a world leader and hopefully the first of many such projects in education and beyond.

“We are delighted that the project has been recognised for the excellence of its achievement in reaching all its design and energy targets.

“It was a challenging project because of its size and complexity, as well as the fact that there is not much room for error at PHP status level.”

Mark said there were a lot of competing requirements in terms of providing the correct level of accommodation for the school body, satisfying the college’s sustainability aspirations, obtaining planning permissions and meeting building control regulations.

“Ultimately, however, it means South West College will enjoy very low energy usage, particularly in heating costs, which will reduce to practically zero,” he said. “That will represent a huge saving that can be used for other things.”

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. 

The walls are made up of insulation filled timber framed panels within a steel frame with an overall U-Value of 0.15 W/m2K. More than half the external walls consist of triple glazed curtain walling with an overall U-Value of 0.85 W/m2K.

The roof and floor are also highly insulated with U-Values of 0.11 W/m2K and 0.15 W/m2K respectively. All details have been thermal bridge mitigated to avoid cold bridging. The building has also achieved a very challenging airtightness target of 0.3 ACH @ 50 PA.

There are a number of ventilation systems in the building with different strategies depending on the size and use of the spaces. Air coming into the building goes through earth pipes to temper it, raising the temperature in winter and cooling it in summer.

Large areas are served by large central air handling units while smaller spaces have localised units with heat exchangers. The atrium has opening windows to provide additional ventilation.

The heating system is a combination of a bio-oil micro CHP unit and an air to water heat pump technology with a mix of underfloor heating and radiators as heat emitters.

A renewable energy generation figure of 120 Kwh/m2/year is provided by a large solar photovoltaic array to the building’s roof. There is 480Kwh of battery capacity that will allow for short-term storage.

See the project here: