Ravelin Sports Centre

Ravelin Sports Centre

This ground-breaking sports centre for the University of Portsmouth sets a new benchmark for ultra-low energy sports facilities in the UK.

Ravelin Sports Centre provides a range of facilities for both the University and the wider city, including a 25-metre swimming pool, an eight-court sports hall, a 175-station fitness suite, climbing facilities, a ski simulator, teaching facilities, and office spaces.

We worked closely with architects FaulknerBrowns from the very start of the project to meet ambitious targets for energy use and sustainability, including a BREEAM score of 'Outstanding'. The design is fossil fuel-free and has demonstrated an operational energy consumption of less than 100 kWh/m2/yr – a level of performance which no other equivalent sports centre in the UK has yet demonstrated.

The building incorporates a range of passive and active environmental technologies including:

  • A compact building form and efficient external envelope to minimise heat loss.
  • Extensive natural lighting.
  • Natural and mixed-mode ventilation.
  • Heating from air source heat pumps and heat recovery from cooling and ventilation systems and waste pool water.
  • A bio-solar roof with a 1000-square-metre photovoltaic array, generating 224MWhs of renewable energy per year (20% of the building energy demand).
  • Automatic system controls for heating, cooling, ventilation and lighting.
  • The recycling of pool water for changing facilities.

A collaborative soft landings strategy also ensured the University’s management and operations teams had a good understanding of the building and its systems at handover and into occupation.

Intensive post-occupancy monitoring and user feedback have been used to fine-tune systems and controls for optimum comfort and energy efficiency. In the first six months since opening, the data has shown that the building’s operational energy consumption is less than 100 kWh/m²/yr, which is around one-tenth of the energy demand of an equivalent typical UK sports centre. This ultra-low level of carbon emissions is compatible with a net-zero carbon future, and the building is all-electric, meaning its carbon emissions will continue to fall as the UK grid continues to decarbonise.

You can read more about how Max Fordham delivered exemplary operational energy performance, and improved comfort for users, in the following article for CIBSE Journal, and interview with lead engineer on the project, Mark Palmer: 

Fit for purpose – how best to keep cool in exercise spaces – CIBSE Journal

Ravelin Sports Centre: A catch-up with sustainability engineer Mark Palmer on Vimeo









University of Portsmouth

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