Innovation Award

For the first time, this year the award for Innovation went to a company for their all round thinking.

9_7_Innovative_featuresNG BAILEY FOR SOLAIS HOUSE, STRATHCLYDE BUSINESS PARK

This award goes to a team's work on the project rather than a building, although the two are inextricably linked. NG Bailey drew on all its skills to help Strathclyde Business Park Developments transform a standard business part building into a showcase for innovation and sustainability.

The key to success was not just technical expertise, however, but ensuring every metre of ground-source heating pipe, every pane of photovoltaic glass and every dual-flush toilet was economically sound. This is no flashy showcase full of futuristic gimmicks but a hard-nosed commercial enterprise. "It is heartening to see there are no faddish bolt-ons or green jewellery," say the national judges. "Everything is integral to the build, showing how a firm that would normally be introduced late on as a sub-contractor can add enormously to a design if consulted early."

The fact that NG Bailey was a tenant meant it could only suggest changes. The developer had doubts, for instance, over the aesthetics of photovoltaic shading but accepting advice meant the building is now fitted with a material that generates power and prevents solar gain.

"Because of its in-house skill base, NG Bailey had access to the total toolbox of new thinking yet had the restraint to choose only what was appropriate and economically feasible, " say the judging panel.

Innovations include the world's first application of phase change materials, used in the wave feature ceiling within the conference room. This material, discreetly incorporated into the building, increases thermal storage and soaks up excess heat to be released later, reducing cooling demand as well as improving thermal comfort.

The regionals judges were impressed by the aim to produce not only a testing ground, but also a commercially viable office. "A 'very good' BREEAM rating was important but they were looking to set high standards of design. Individual elements were worthy of an award but the all-round thinking is what makes this project so innovative."

Under a basic business park exterior lies great innovation that achieves practical gains reducing the carbon footprint by 75% but, just as importantly, uses technology that can be replicated commercially rather than just being a vanity project.