Cardiff University – Innovation Central


Project Overview

Designed by award-winning architects Hawkins\Brown, the building will work with business and society to create, test and incubate new initiatives. Equipped with shared spaces, labs and serviced offices, the Centre works hand-in-hand with business, from start-ups through to established companies. World-leading academics will be based in the 12,000m2 building, offering businesses access to expertise from across the University. Located in the heart of Cardiff, the Centre will feature a range of new facilities that allow innovation to flourish.

Advance(s) Sought

Innovation Central, designed by award-winning architects Hawkins\Brown, will house SPARK, the world’s first social science research park, and the Innovation Centre – a creative space for start-ups, spin-outs and partnerships. By proving and refining the integration of separate software platforms there will be a reduction in future baseline technology costs.

Technical and/or Scientific Challenges

With expansive open plan working spaces it is imperative that comfort levels are maintained whilst energy usage is kept to a minimum. In order to facilitate this ATS had to solve the challenge associated with managing the HVAC applications whilst utilising the lighting systems occupancy data and connecting them together via a single software platform to achieve optimal energy savings. Although there are examples of integration between lighting and BMS systems there is no baseline available for a project of this scale and therefore if the two platforms are able to cope with the scale of data being exchanged and more importantly be able to use the data in an efficient and productive way.

Resolution of Challenges, Project Outcomes and Future

Developing specific software drivers to ensure the information is accurately routed is of paramount importance to ensure the occupied spaces are kept comfortable and energy use minimised. However, it is not possible to accurately design the software architecture until commissioning is underway. This leaves a great deal of uncertainty for the delivery team as it is unclear how the finer points of the integration can be achieved and how long this will take. Given that this is a headline construction project for the University and the City, a significant amount of pressure will be placed on the team to find a solution in a short space of time. Whilst there is confidence within the company that this will be achieved it is unclear how long this will take and therefore what the cost will be to the company.