Hewitt Studios have recently completed the first phase of the conversion and refurbishment of a former nuclear research and engineering hall on the Severn Estuary into a green energy training hub.
The project provides South Gloucestershire and Stroud College with a renewable energy and engineering skills centre supported by both local enterprise funding and international technology partners, such as Schneider, Welink and Bosch.
The delivery of a reinvigorated, dynamic and sustainable facility is key to this offer – the building is designed to become an exemplar of regenerative investment and an education tool in its own right.
Elements of the building fabric will be used to deliver specific areas of curriculum (e.g. solar pv and timber construction), whilst the responsible re-use of an existing building sets a low-carbon precedent for future developments to follow.
Green initiatives include a BIPV facade, thermally efficient envelope, innovative MVHR system and low-waste construction methods (inc. LVL timber structure and ‘dazzle camo’ plywood insertions to contrast with the retained shell).
The centre represents the first phase of the College’s ambitious plans to establish a sustainable science and technology park on the berkeley centre – to ‘put the region at the forefront of learning for the high technology, Sustainable energy and advanced manufacturing sectors within a new institute of technology’.
Hewitt studios are also developing plans for a site-wide renewables package with the ultimate aim of becoming a zero-carbon campus. This includes a government-backed solar at scale scheme (with building, car park and ground mounted pvs), tidal power, wind generation and battery storage. Impact will be minimised with significant areas of habitat creation (supported by the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust) and a comprehensive green transport strategy including a cross-campus electric minibus infrastructure.
The result will be an exciting new hub for the sustainable energy industry; raising aspirations, attracting young people to stem careers and providing skilled people to fill the technology skills shortage, all within a sustainable and low-impact environment.