Building type Business
Building age post 2000
Location Lowestoft
Cost of work £ 8,500,000
District Waveney

OrbisEnergy is a purpose built business centre aimed at the renewable energy industry.  Situated at Ness Point in Lowestoft, the country’s most easterly point, the 5 story building can house up to 38 companies which are involved in off shore renewable energy, supporting both new and existing enterprises.  Offering state-of-the-art, easy-in, easy-out office units, conference facilities and a virtual office service, Orbis Energy delivers first class support to its tenants, helping them to take best commercial advantage of the opportunities on offer. Costing £8.5 million, OrbisEnergy narrowly missed out on a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating and is instead ‘Very Good’.

Sustainability Features

Climate Adaptation

The first occupied floor of the building is raised by one storey, effectively putting the building on stilts in order to cope with the possibility of flooding caused by future sea level rises.

Passive Solar Gain

The building is aligned on a north-south axis, in order to maximise daylight conditions throughout the day. ‘Brise-soleil’ screening is used to protect windows from excessive sunlight on this exposed site.

Solar Hot Water Heating

A ‘solar thermal tracker’ provides hot water.

Passive Ventilation

‘Windcatcher’ terminals supply passive ventilation; effectively free air conditioning!

Biomass Boiler

A £77,500 Binder RRK/RRF 200-300 biomass boiler, fed using local woodchip pellets from a sustainable source, provides back up for the solar heating and hot water.

Building Management System

The buildings is managed by a bespoke building management system in order to maximise efficiency of heating, lighting and ventilation, at the same time as minimising overall energy use. The heating and lighting are also controlled by a building management system which has a PIR censor. This means that when you walk into a room the sensors pick up movement and the heating and lightning is activated. When there is no movement for 20 minutes the heating decreases and the lights will turn off.

Recycled Building Materials

Wherever possible, materials have been selected based on the ability to be recycled, and/or are themselves made from recycled materials, such as the ‘Conservation Grade’ paving slabs and recycled yoghurt worktops plus recycled CD screens to the reception desk.


The insulation is sheep’s wool, and came as part of the timber cassette wall panels.


Design Process

The designers of this building were set the difficult task of designing a landmark building in an environment made difficult by close proximity to the sea. The threat of coastal flooding is therefore reflected in the building’s design. Aiming to regenerate a run down part of Lowestoft, OrbisEnergy was built on the site of an old gasworks and is designed as a business incubator centre for small businesses in the renewable energy sector. To reduce the environmental impact of the building, the building was designed to maximise energy efficiency with high levels of insulation, natural light and ventilation, as well as using recycled materials wherever possible.



Almost £40,000 from the DTI Low Carbon Building Programme towards the Biomass Boiler and Solar Thermal Tracker.


Green Lifestyle

The impressive building and features speak for themselves and provide an awareness of energy saving and living a greener life style. Tenants, staff and everyone who enters the building are constantly reminded of the design principals As well as the features listed above even in the toilets the lights are controlled by PIR sensors making  light switches unnecessary and, the toilet and taps  are operated by infra red sensors.. The management company has all the rubbish sorted by hand so it can be efficiently recycled.



The general consensus of OrbisEnergy is that the building has been a success both in the design and usage of the building.  The aim of OrbisEnergy is to attract companies working within the renewable sector to the building therefore the component parts of the design needed to meet with this criteria as the building needs to be seen as energy efficient.


Suppliers and Professional Services Used

Pick Everard – Architects, Electrical Engineers, Mechanical Engineers, Civil Engineers, Structural Engineers, Environmental Team, Quantity Surveyors

Project Manager – Annett Thompson (SCC)

Landscape Architect – Sue Whiteley (SCC)

Principle contractor – Wales construction.



Enterprising Britain Award 2009 – East of England regional winner

Short listed RICS East of England 2009

Sunrise Coast Tourism award 2008

Suffolk Association of Architects Design Commercial Building Award 2009