Flagship project ‘The Catalyst’ achieves BREEAM Outstanding rating

Desco are thrilled to confirm The Catalyst at the Newcastle Helix development has been rated BREEAM Outstanding; a rating reserved for only the top 1% of new UK non-domestic buildings.

The Catalyst, completed in October 2019 is the new home for the UK’s National Innovation Centre for Ageing and the National Innovation Centre for Data and has shown to be a cutting-edge exemplar for sustainability and design.

Desco worked closely with the whole design team advising and setting out the performance requirements to ensure the building could maximise it’s potential.

Following a rigorous design process, The Catalyst was completed with an array of low carbon, environmentally conscious and energy efficient systems allowing it to attain the BREEAM Outstanding rating. This was achieved by:

  • Drawing Heating and Cooling from the local District Energy Centre, significantly reducing carbon emissions over a similar building type
  • Roof top PV panels generating 27,000kWh of electricity a year
  • Utilising a green roof to support a natural habitat of flora and fauna and promoting biodiversity
  • Flexible zonal control from the BMS system to increase energy efficiency
  • The building was developed with a fabric first approach reducing energy demand through high-performing U-Valves and low air permeability (scoring 3m3/m2h at 50 Pa).

The ground-breaking facility which is located in Newcastle upon Tyne, offers the optimal environment for collaboration, innovation and research. It is purpose built to support the Research & Development needs of both the National Innovation Centre for Ageing and the National Innovation Centre for Data. This includes test environments, exhibition spaces, a lecture theatre, meeting areas and a variety of mixed-use spaces to invite wider interaction with key stakeholders and consumers. The Catalyst is part of the Newcastle Helix development, a £350 million project to regenerate a 24-acre city centre area on the former site of the Newcastle Brewery.

BREEAM is an internationally recognised standard for sustainability and recognises the sustainability value of a project. Using a ‘balanced scorecard’ approach, it rates multiple criteria across the construction, such as Health and Wellbeing, Energy, Water, Material usage, and Innovation, to arrive at a final certification rating.