BRE Visitor Centre @ Ravenscraig Innovation Park


Project Lead
Graeme Hannah, BRE Scotland

Key Project Leaders
Architect: Bruce Newlands, Kraft Architecture
Contractor: CCG (OSM) Ltd
M&E Engineer: Summit Contract Services

BREEAM Outstanding, Off Site Manufacturing, Timber, BRE Innovation Park, Zero Carbon 

Project Description
The BRE Scotland Innovation Park, located on the site of the Ravenscraig Regeneration development on the edge of Glasgow, aims to showcase the future of Scottish housing in the first phase, with non-domestic properties to follow later. The single storey, open plan, Visitor Centre was the first building to be constructed on the Park and showcases innovative technologies and construction methods to a variety of audiences. The Visitor Centre acts as demonstration and testing building to determine and display how effectively various products, materials and technologies operate in a live working environment. The purpose of this development is to research and disseminate results to inform the wider construction industry.

Materials / Construction
The closed panel timber frame building demonstrates the latest thinking in off-site manufacture, technology integration and construction management. Manufacturing took place within CCG's state of the art specialist OSM facility in Glasgow. Using advanced technology and an automated production line enabled CCG to  to demonstrate high levels of quality control, reduced waste and increased efficiency – all within a safer workplace. The controlled off-site construction process reduced project waste and construction time as the Visitor Centre was manufactured concurrently with site preparation. In addition, the amount of site disruption was also decreased as minimal work is actually performed on site. The system adopts fabric first principles to provide thermally efficient buildings with low energy demands, making dramatic reductions in heating requirements, lowering associated running costs and limiting harmful emissions.

BREEAM Outstanding
The Visitor Centre has been designed in accordance with the BREEAM 2011 New Construction ‘Outstanding' criteria for offices. This demonstrates exemplary environmental performance in a number of key areas, including management, energy, health and wellbeing, transport, water, materials, waste, land use and ecology, and pollution. 

Zero Carbon
The energy strategy is very much a ‘fabric first' approach, which allowed the project team to minimise energy demand as much as possible through passive design measures (orientation, glazing area, high performance building fabric) and then meet the remaining energy demands through low and zero carbon technology. There is extensive energy monitoring in place, to allow any areas where energy use is not within normal limits to be identified and to help to target (and then reduce) areas with a high consumption. This is key to maintaining a truly operational ‘net zero carbon' building.

Energy Supply
A number of technologies have been installed to meet the operational net zero carbon target.  These are as follows:

  • air source heat pump (ASHP)
  • photovoltaic panels (with battery storage to allow excess energy to be sold back to the grid)
  • solar hot water
  • mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR)

Heating / Ventilation
The heating system at the BRE Visitor Centre combines an air source heat pump with underfloor heating throughout the building and an MVHR system which serves the whole building.
The ASHP is located on the roof and is connected to an unvented coil cylinder located in the plant room. This distributes heat to the whole building via a manifold to the underfloor heating system which is capable of maintaining an internal temperature of 21 oC for the majority of the year. The system includes full zone and temperature control.
The MVHR has a system efficiency of up to 95 %, with a specific fan power (SFP) of 0.4. Mechanical ventilation is more efficient when installed within an airtight building. The contractor has committed to an airtightness level of below 1 m3/(h.m2) at 50Pa for the visitor's centre which makes the building suitable for MVHR. Air tightness testing is to be carried out during Q3.

During the design stage, a number of iterative analyses were carried out in order to determine the 'optimum' balance between natural light levels and thermal performance. This led to a high daylight factor and uniformity ratio, demonstrating effective use of natural light. In terms of artificial lighting, a comprehensive lighting system has been installed. The lighting has been specified in accordance with CIBSE best practice guides both internally and externally. Internally, daylight sensors and occupancy detection devices have also been provided in a number of occupied areas to help ensure that artificial lighting levels are not surplus to requirements, thus reducing the environmental impact and reducing the energy consumption where possible.

Key Performance Indicators

Floor Area

110 m2


Outstanding (Design Stage)


A+ (zero carbon)


Roof: 0.1 W/m2K

Floor: 0.1 W/m2K

Wall 0.15 W/m2K

Windows: 0.9 W/m2K

Air tightness

1 m3/(h.m2) at 50Pa