The project was intended to achieve maximum energy efficiency through the realization of a smart, nearly-zero-energy building for the new House of Parliament.
The practice is part of the ‘City Gate’ project aiming at the reorganisation of the principal entrance to Valletta. Besides the construction of a new Parliament building, the project includes the design for an open-air theatre within the ruins of the former Royal opera house and the landscaping of the ditch outside the city walls.
The building is made up of 2 blocks: 1 hosting the parliament chamber, the other accommodating governmental o¬ffices, separated by a central courtyard serving as main entrance. The building design was informed by energy and environmental considerations:
- PASSIVE DESIGN: the stone envelope was designed to reduce solar heat gain and allow natural ventilation. The thickness of the envelope has been dimensioned according to the energy balance, also providing insulation of walls and roofs; moreover, the irregular morphology of the façade creates indirect shadows, reducing the surface temperature.
- USE OF RES: cooling & heating are obtained through geothermal heat pumps using boreholes sunk into rock 140m deep. Reduced energy needs can be almost entirely (100% in winter and 80% in summer) covered by 160sq.m of PV panels on the roof.
- ENERGY SAVING DEVICES & SMART CONTROLS: use of efficient lighting with presence detection; low-energy air displacement systems; rainwater harvesting systems; building management system; mechanical ventilation and heating/cooling shut down automatically when windows are open; metering and sub-metering of equipment.
The project required an investment of €82 million (€ 38,829,049 for the Parliament Building).
It was supported by EIB with a € 40m finance contract, signed with Malita Investments plc to be paid back through a leasing agreement of € 5.2 million/year (3.7 for the P.B.) by the Government.
Evidence of success
The interventions reached the following targets:
- reduction from almost 80 MWh/year to almost 50 MWh/year of energy used for cooling and heating (use of PV panels and geothermal system).
- pv panels generated more than the 50% of building's energy need.
- A Landscape and Visual Amenity Assessment considering aesthetics had to be carried out.
- The promoter required the Transport Authority to develop a Traffic Impact Statement to assess potential negative impacts on pedestrian and vehicles traffic deriving from the closure of a important access.
Potential for learning or transfer
• Inclusion of the building in a wider urban regeneration programme, in line with the overall Grand Harbour Local Plan
• Successful use of EIB financing
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