Borders College's Eco Room wins property award

The Borders College STEM Hub Eco Room, based in Hawick, has been named as a winner at this year’s prestigious Herald Property Awards for Scotland.

Friday, 8th October 2021, 11:28 am
Updated Friday, 8th October 2021, 11:28 am
Architect Stuart Davidson and facilities manager Robert Hewitt at the STEM Hub in Hawick.

Carrying the accolade in the ‘Commercial Project of the Year’ category, the specialised construction, designed by Stuart Davidson Architecture, saw off stiff competition from two other shortlisted projects.

The Eco Room is part of the STEM Hub, utilising a “passive house” approach to ensure high-energy efficiency, making the best use of new materials, super insulation, triple glazing and solar gain.

The design ensures airtightness and creates a space that is self-ventilating.

Hosted by comedian and radio presenter Des Clarke, this virtual event took place recently and, after a year’s absence, the cream of Scotland’s property professionals joined The Herald’s awards room online platform to hear the announcement of the winners in all 17 categories.

The fantastic achievement expands on the Eco Room being ‘highly commended’ at the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT) annual awards in December 2020, where it was described as having “good architectural design technology and design aspects”.

Robert Hewitt, facilities manager at Borders College, said: “To win this award, just as COP26 is about to begin, really demonstrates how seriously Borders College is taking its commitment to sustainability and working towards a net-zero future.

“The award is testament to the state-of-the-art building, which showcases the latest sustainable construction methods and demonstrates how we can build comfortable modern homes, and meet our zero-emissions targets.

“The Eco Room and the Sustainable Construction Hub will be pivotal in upskilling our local workforce to tackle the climate emergency challenges we face.”

The building was recently visited by Jamie Hepburn MSP, who spoke with business owners and students who are benefiting from the training and development services provided there.

Mr Hepburn said: “The Hawick STEM centre plays a vital role in learning around new and emerging technologies in the construction and renewables industries – this will be crucial in growing Scotland’s economy.”

Environmental monitoring and thermal imaging help to demonstrate how the methods used to build the Eco Room differ from more traditional structures.

The principles of airtightness can be exhibited using a testing kit, and training can be provided on this to students and local businesses alike.

Stuart Davidson of Stuart Davidson Architecture, who worked on the project, said: “To be announced as the winner is great recognition for the client’s focus and commitment to creating a sustainable teaching facility, and I am delighted that the design and build has been recognised in such a way.

“Our aim from the outset was to create a structure that was cutting edge, asked questions on buildability and renewable techniques.

“It fuses a number of specialist construction techniques such as “passive slab” floor, natural insulation and breathable membranes to create a building which can be monitored and educate for the long term.”