A BICESTER building that uses less energy than it creates has been awarded twice for its architecture and sustainability.

Based in the town's eco village Elmsbrook, the Eco Business Centre has received two Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) awards.

The building, which was designed by Architype and opened in September 2019, provides co-working and independent workspace, giving start-ups and small businesses a place to meet, collaborate and grow.

What makes it unique is that it is the first non-domestic property in the UK to achieve the Passivhaus Plus standard for energy efficiency.

This means that thanks to renewable sources, the building uses less energy than it creates on-site, meaning it is carbon negative and self-sufficient.

Mark Barry, Architype director, said: "RIBA awards are very prestigious and we are delighted that the net zero carbon Bicester Eco Centre has won two awards, not only for the architectural quality of the building, but also for its sustainability credentials.

"The award is recognition for a collaborative client, design and construction team who set very high environmental standards and supported the project goals from the outset.

"The fact that the building was recognised as setting a benchmark for others to follow, and that the building occupiers are enjoying minimal running costs and health and wellbeing benefits from the pioneering Passivhaus Plus design is a fantastic outcome for everyone involved."

The centre provides its own natural airflow, automatically opening vents and windows as needed.

Architype is best known for its pioneering commitment in the field of sustainable architecture and continues to develop green projects working with universities, local authorities, museums, housing associations and developers.

Mr Barry added: "We are also making sure that our buildings are climate ready and able to meet the huge risks of overheating that all of us are now facing, as outlined in the latest IPCC report. In the lead up to COP26 and the climate emergency, the report should act as a huge wake up call to the industry - we can no longer do business as usual - particularly when there are already proven routes to zero carbon that also deliver high performing, beautiful spaces that are great for people and the planet."

Town Square Spaces Ltd was selected by Cherwell District Council to manage and run the business centre.

The site's community manager Lucy Wendon said: “We’re delighted that our fantastic building has won this award and that Architype’s incredible work is getting recognised.

“By having an environmental focus, we attract other eco-minded businesses, and we are proud to say that our members can start to play a more active part in positive change, just by basing themselves here - and awards such as this help highlight that.”