Essex & Suffolk Water Headquarters, Chelmsford

The newly built operations centre features SAS International's ISM's fitted with passive chilled beams. Helping create an excellent internal working environment for improved staff comfort and satisfaction.

Key features




The Northumbrian Water Group



Main contractor

Hoare Lea


SAS International

Completion year


System type

Integrated Service Modules | ISM

Area M2



United Kingdom

Product Groups

SAS International Integrated Service Modules (ISMs) fitted with Passive Chilled Beams have been installed at the newly built operations centre for Essex & Suffolk Water. Situated at the existing Hanningfield Water Treatment Works near Chelmsford, architects FaulknerBrowns were selected after a national competition to design this purpose built premises.

FaulknerBrowns architects, Hoare Lea and SAS Project Management worked closely to provide a building with an ‘Excellent’ BREEAM environmental rating. The three-storey building incorporates a range of innovative sustainable features boasting a water source heat pump, which utilises water from the nearby Hanningfield reservoir to provide heating and cooling throughout the building via the SAS International Chilled Beam system.

Working with the client and the water treatment team, the design team has been able to use reservoir water to help cool and heat the building, resulting in substantial savings in running costs and demonstrating Essex & Suffolk Water’s commitment to the environment.

Steve McIntyre, a Partner at FaulknerBrowns Architects comments; “The design of Sandon Valley House for Essex & Suffolk Water implements the design principles set out in the British Council for Offices (BCO) guide. We have designed an office workplace that combines best practice in office design with a number of environmentally sustainable building systems, such as reservoir heating and cooling.  The design has resulted in increased workplace productivity and a building solution which is extremely energy efficient – these issues were key components of our client’s original brief.”

“The use of Passive Chilled Beams, from SAS International, help to create an excellent internal working environment for improved staff comfort and satisfaction resulting in enhanced productivity”, adds Steve McIntyre.

Jenny Abel Facilities Team Leader at Essex & Suffolk Water  adds; “Sandon Valley House is such a fantastic place to work. The office environment is light, fresh and airy and has a real buzz around the place. The temperature is really comfortable and very easy to adjust if needs be. The beams across the ceiling not only work well but look great too. Integrating the chilled beams and lighting also creates a simple and clean design. Sustainability is at the heart of the design of Sandon Valley House so the energy efficiency of the Chilled Beam system is key to us.”

SAS International Passive Chilled Beams are a flexible, low-energy choice for both new-build and refurbishment projects. The natural convection process drives warm air up through the occupied space; this is drawn through the chilled beam, is cooled and returned to the occupied space. Passive chilled beams produce outputs in the region of 300 watts per metre length (W/m) while active chilled beams can achieve cooling outputs of 500W/m.

Chilled Beams use water as a heat transfer method and offer a practical alternative to conventional air conditioning systems. Chilled Beams are manufactured by bonding aluminium heat transfer fins to copper cooling elements. Chilled Beams enable a large surface area to be cooled efficiently.

Systems used