CREST Centre for Renewable Energy & Sustainable Technologies

The ethos of the CREST centre is to create a sustainable technology research facility that can benefit others, by the technologies designed and tested there. The CREST pavilion building has the purpose of being a demonstration building for the pioneering design principals and construction methods adopted in it.  It is an exemplar working model for other construction schemes.

From the very outset it was made clear that sustainable design was key to the successful completion of the CREST Pavilion, the responsible approach for the architects was to reflect the innovative aspiration of the CREST project in the design and construction of the new CREST pavilion.

The new CREST pavilion is one of the most sustainable buildings in UK and Ireland and is the first educational building in Northern Ireland to have Passive House Certification.

The aim of the pavilion project is to provide a sustainable, environmentally friendly building which also serves as an attractive and functional educational facility.  It is designed using all the principles of Passive House design and standards set out by BREEAM to achieve an ‘excellent’ rating.

The pavilion is distinguished as it has the following three sustainable credentials: –

  1. Passive House Certified for energy efficient fabric and ventilation system.
  2. BREEAM excellent in terms of the BRE sustainable benchmark for UK commercial buildings.
  3. Zero Carbon, i.e. The building can provide, by renewable energy, it own source of heat and lighting. (regulated energy use).


Whilst a combination of two of these sustainable criteria has been carried out in other parts of the UK, this is the first example of a combination of all three.  We feel that the combination of these credentials, integrated with the appropriate renewable technology makes this project a shining example of sustainable development.

Our ‘fabric first’ approach to the design ensure the use of renewable energy technology has maximum benefit.  This project incorporates solar PV panels to generate electric with mechanical ventilation with heat recovery to ‘transfer’ heat from the stale air being extracted into the fresh air brought in. The consistent temperature and appropriate air exchange prevents moisture build up and creates a comfortable indoor environment.  During the design process a thermal model of the building allowed the design to be modified and tested to ensure it would meet the desired target energy rating of 15kWh/m2.annum.

A major innovation for this research facility was the ability of the design team to integrate the Passive House principles and BREEAM guidelines into the design to produce a zero carbon building.  It was pertinent to use a combination of sustainable design criteria when designing as it reflected the ethos of the brief set out by CREST and our desire to create a project that had inherently sustainable credentials at its heart, creating a target for other construction projects in the future.

The scheme is constructed on a brown field site using low environmental impact materials.  It is heated using a 2.5 – 3.5 Kw air source heat pump and illuminated using low energy LED lighting both powered by photovoltaic panels. This allows the building to have zero levels of CO2 emissions for regulated energy use.

The Building reflects the innovative aspiration of the CREST project and acts as a demonstration building and showcase for the new technologies on display.  This is a landmark building in terms of sustainable credentials for Northern Ireland, Ireland and the UK.



This project is available to view from 9am to 9pm,  11th Nov 2017 as part of the International Passive House Open Days 2017