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Erne Campus

Erne Campus – the World’s Largest Passive House Premium Building

Unilin Insulation’s vast range of insulation products for walls, floors and roofs helped achieve record-breaking energy efficiency for this new build education hub. As well as being the world’s first educational building to achieve Passive House Premium standards, the impressive new campus was confirmed by the Passive House Institute as being the world’s largest building of ‘premium’ status. To complete a trio of ‘firsts,’ the 8,200 m2 project was also the first UK building to achieve both Passive House Premium and BREEAM outstanding accreditations.


Designed by Hamilton Architects, the campus was constructed by local firm Tracey Brothers and accommodates over 800 full-time students, 2000 part-time students and 120 staff. The extensive new 4 storey curved building replaces a 1971 constructed building with a poor energy efficiency rating (band ‘D’) with colossal fuel costs, with around 100,000 litres of oil being used annually. From this low base, the bar was set extremely high in the race for Passive House Premium status.

Unilin Insulation Expertise

A sustainable goal of this magnitude requires commitment from all parties and Unilin Insulation’s Technical team engaged with project architects, contractors and installers across the extensive build project to ensure the ambitious project demands could be fulfilled.

With a huge emphasis on air tightness and the elimination of thermal bridging at every juncture, Unilin Insulation’s technical team engaged at design stage to ensure specification of suitable products throughout every element of the building. The removal of cold bridging in the structural steel frame was of particular concern, and Unilin Insulation’s technical advisors carried our rigorous Y-Value calculations to overcome this challenge at design stage.

Air tightness tests were also carried out at pre-construction stage to trial design and workmanship. Every professional involved in the project was trained in the importance of fine detailing to achieve the desired standards. When it came to specification of insulation materials, Unilin Insulation’s extensive range of under floor, framing board and flat roof solutions combined to achieve the required results. Onsite training and toolbox talks were held to ensure no gap developed between design and as-built performance.


At ground floor level, 90mm XT / UF insulation combined with a 150mm compacted base, 25mm sand binding and 1mm DPM to achieve an overall U-value calculation of 0.11 W/m²K. A layer of 75mm screed was finished with a mix of tiled, sprung timber and vinyl flooring depending on the particular use of each area of the building.

A brick outer skin was followed inside by a 50mm air gap, with a breather membrane then applied on 9mm OSB board sheathing and 150mm Xtroliner XO/FB insulation between the timber studwork. This was followed by an airtightness barrier on 100x38mm battens with 100mm XO/FB insulation between the timber studwork. Finished internally with a 13mm plasterboard, the overall U-value for the walls was 0.13 W/m²K.

At roof level a single-ply membrane was applied on 140mm FR-ALU insulation, with vapour control layer, on a profiled metal deck. The overall U-value achieved was 0.15 W/ m²K.


Speaking of Unilin Insulation’s involvement in this significant milestone project, specification manager Phil Ward commented, ‘To have played such a vital role in the quest for Passive House Premium and BREEAM outstanding statuses has been a huge honour. This project brings educational buildings to a new height in terms of energy efficiency, comfort for staff and students all year round and indoor air quality. To place sustainability so firmly in the mindsets of these students can only be a positive and as a company with sustainability so high on our own agenda, this gives us great hope for the future.

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