- Product used: URSA XPS
- Building type: Educational Centres
- Architect: Francisco Valbuena
Outstanding in sustainability and energy efficiency
In September 2019, the students of the School of Industrial Engineering of Valladolid inaugurated a new lecture hall, the acclaimed IndUVA building.
This new building consisted of 34 classrooms distributed over the 6 floors of the building. The occupancy of the building was designed for more than 2,500 students in a total built area of 5,845 square metres.
It is a building in which, above all, the design is fully integrated with its cultural, environmental, technical, economic and social surroundings. The team of architects, headed by Francisco Valbuena, has achieved its goal of designing a building with almost zero energy consumption. To achieve this, they have used innovative solutions and systems combined with the use of renewable energies and exhaustive control of ventilation, lighting and air conditioning.
One of the things that conditioned the project was the variability of the occupancy - practically empty in the summer months and with a full house from September to May. This fact led those responsible for the project to apply the latest technologies such as average surface geothermal energy, the use of Canadian wells, the use of solar energy with the architectural integration of photovoltaic solar panels and the installation of green roofs.
XPS: insulation that provides energy efficiency
Among these solutions that provide sustainability and energy efficiency is insulation, a fundamental part, according to Valbuena, to achieve a sustainable and efficient building: "Insulation is one of the basic strategies of energy efficiency in buildings and, if designed correctly, it means significant reductions in thermal demands. But it is very important how it is executed to guarantee its continuity, the elimination of thermal bridges, etc.", acknowledged the architect.
More than 1,000 square metres of URSA XPS NIII L have been installed to insulate the roofs and the areas where the slab is in contact with the ground. This is a high-performance material which, according to the architect responsible for this major project, was chosen for "its good behaviour in damp conditions and its resistance to compression for these areas in particular".
Valladolid belongs to climate zone D, which is why a thickness of 100 mm was used, preventing energy theft from the ground. But the material also has other advantages such as its high load-bearing capacity, zero water absorption and durability.
In the selection of materials, no materials with volatile organic compounds or added folmaldehyde were used. Materials have been used which, like XPS, have environmental declarations, ecological materials (URSA's XPS includes up to 85% recycled material in its composition), as well as locally sourced and manufactured construction products (the insulation used was manufactured at URSA's factory in Pla de Santa Maria) in Tarragona.
The sum of all these measures has resulted in a significant reduction in the carbon footprint of this building.
Sustainability certifications: GREEN, LEED and WELL
The team of architects also thought about the use of natural lighting in order to reduce electricity consumption for both cooling and lighting. The building has the VERDE (5-leaf) certification from the Green Building Council Spain (GBCe) and LEED (Platinum) awarded by the US Green Building Council and the WELL certificate for health and well-being. Regarding the achievement of the latter certificate, those responsible for the project acknowledged that "when designing the building, all aspects relating to indoor comfort were also taken into account, both in terms of indoor air quality and acoustics, views and other parameters that favour people's wellbeing".
All these aspects are also recognised and scored by the VERDE Tool. María Jesús González, VERDE Accredited Assessor responsible for the building's achievement of this Spanish certificate also agreed on the importance of good insulation to ensure the sustainability of the building: "The VERDE tool includes many aspects. A well-defined thermal insulation through a WTP, with solutions for all situations, and well placed, is basic and fundamental to obtain very good results in several of these aspects, among others the reduction of energy demand, the circular economy and the use of natural resources, which influence the reduction of different environmental impacts.
A very intelligent building
All of IndUVa's active systems have been designed to produce only the amount of energy required at any given time. "For example, CO2 and temperature probes have been installed in each classroom to indicate the amount of ventilation required in each space. This, together with the constant differential pressure system of the air handling units and the variable flow boxes in the classroom, means that only ventilation is provided according to the degree and density of occupancy.
Another measure that has contributed to the final sustainability of the building is the water treatment system, which has significantly reduced the consumption of drinking water. Rainwater and greywater are fully reused.
In addition, the IndUVa has been recognised with awards such as the Castilla y León Sustainable Construction Award 2018 in the equipment category or the Grand Prize for Sustainable Construction of the Green Solutions Award 2018.
Location: P.º Prado de la Magdalena, s/n, 47011 Valladolid
"Insulation is one of the basic strategies of energy efficiency in buildings and, if designed correctly, it means significant reductions in thermal demands"