Creative Exchange


Creative exchange

Project lead

February Phillips, 5th Studio

Building type, sector and stage
Non-domestic , new build, office, in operation, East

Earth tube, thermal mass, under floor heating, natural ventilation, solar thermal, green roof, office

Creative Exchange is an award winning building for business and community use, offering 14 leased workspaces with ‘easy-in, easy-out' tenancy ranging from 12m2 to 26m2.  This is supplemented with meeting and exhibition spaces to both tenants and external companies.
The project is publicly funded, and delivered through a working partnership between Huntingdonshire District Council, Longsands College, the Department for Communities and Local Government and the East of England Development Agency.

Creative exchange interior

The flagship building forms the gateway into the college campus, consisting of a four storey concrete frame with cantilever wooden hut construction on the two higher levels, and a functional roof garden.
The client brief to provide a low energy and sustainable solution delivered sustainable features including an earth duct, solar thermal hot water, natural stack ventilation, and space planning for natural light optimisation, SUD strategy for car park and green roof and high thermal mass construction.  This design provided a BREEAM ‘very good' rating, with a BER of 15.9kg/C02/m2 per annum.
Although the building has been in operation since October 2008, the initial findings of the BPE study has identified many of the sustainable features are not operating as intended.  The fan delivering tempered air from the earth tube is regulated to 20% to reduce noise, therefore subsequent effectiveness, and the solar thermal system has failed due to a leak in the tank, which has been attributed to a lack of maintenance.
There is a general lack of understanding of the environmental control strategy primarily attributed to staff changes and poor handover process which was compromised by the late appointment of a building management company.  Significant BMS and sub-metering issues has hindered data capture in the study, which is compounded with financial constraints of the maintenance staff to adequately support the building.
The occupancy survey revealed a significant dissatisfaction with noise internally due to the open layout and lack of soft surfaces, and externally with noise from the college playing fields.
The BPE study has allowed these issues to be quickly identified and addressed, such as engaging the services of an acoustic consultant.  The feedback from the study has been invaluable for the delivery team; advancing knowledge of delivering a truly sustainable solution whilst avoiding the many pitfalls.

Project cost £1.4 million
Floor area (GIA) 705 m2 (227 m2 let space)
Building Regs estimate of CO2 8.6  m3/m2/h @ 50Pa tested
10.0  m3/m2/h @ 50Pa designed
BREEAM rating Very Good
EPC rating B (47)
Measured electricity use 45 kWh/m2/yr*
Measured gas use 90 kWh/m2/yr*
Measured CO2 emissions 43 kgCO2/m2/yr*
Occupancy pattern 10 units occupied out of 14


*Estimated from main gas and electricity readings from August 2011 (due to unreliable metering)