Sustainable buildings


The University is committed to developing low carbon buildings, setting ourselves the ambitious target of BREEAM excellent as a minimum for all new capital projects ─ the most widely used environmental assessment for buildings. 

This standard ensures that sustainability is included throughout all stages of building development, from design through to post-occupancy. This includes:

  • minimising transportation during construction
  • using recycled materials
  • low energy consumption
  • enhancing biodiversity

Two postgraduate students sitting on grass in front of Nottingham Geospatial Building, Jubilee Campus

Green features of the University's recent new builds include:

  • rainwater harvesting
  • biomass boilers
  • ground source heat pumps
  • passive design
  • sustainable urban drainage systems
  • straw bale construction


Building for research

Creative Energy Homes

Exterior of the Creative Energy Homes, Green Close, University Park

The University has built a number of real homes to conduct research into energy efficiency and low or zero-carbon housing.

Working with various industry sponsors, the Creative Energy Homes showcase innovative energy-efficient homes of the future on a real street - Green Close - on University Park campus. 

Carbon neutral laboratory

Work is currently underway on a new centre for sustainable chemistry, the first carbon neutral laboratory to be built in the UK. The building will achieve BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ and LEED ‘Platinum’ and carbon neutral status after 25 years. 

The laboratory will be built from natural materials and energy required to run the laboratory will be met by renewable sources such as solar power and sustainable biofuel. Excess energy created by the building will provide enough carbon credits over 25 years to pay back the carbon used in its construction and will be used to heat a nearby office development on Jubilee Campus.  

Centre for Sustainable Energy Technologies (CSET)

The Centre for Sustainable Energy Technologies (CSET) on our Ningbo campus is the first zero-carbon building in China. 

It demonstrates state-of-the-art techniques for environmentally responsible construction. The building provides 100 percent of its energy for lighting, power, heating and cooling from sources such as solar panels, solar absorption air conditioning system, geothermal heat pumps and a wind turbine.

In 2009 CSET won first prize in the 'Green Building' category at the Marché International des Professionnels d'Immobilier (MIPIM world's property market).



Jubilee Campus 

Built on former industrial land, Jubilee Campus is an outstanding example of brownfield regeneration, sustainability, low energy design and innovative architecture. Green design practices include:

  • use of natural materials such as cedar redwood cladding and recycled newspaper insulation
  • roof-mounted wind catchers to provide ventilation
  • maximising natural daylight internally while providing external shading to control solar gain
  • low energy lighting and intelligent controls
  • innovative earth tube to passively heat / cool external air entering the building
  • series of man-made lakes that provide a valuable wildlife habitat and contribute to heating and cooling of buildings
  • rainwater runoff is fed back into the lakes  
  • low-growing alpine plants on roofs, which contribute to biodiversity and water attenuation

Awards received for Jubilee Campus include:

  • 1999 ─ Millennium Marquee Award for Environmental Excellence
  • 2001 ─ Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Sustainability Award for Jubilee Campus
  • 2002 ─ Civic Trust Special Award for Sustainability
  • 2005 ─ The Times' Britain's Top 5 Greenest Buildings for Jubilee Campus
  • 2009 ─ BREEAM excellent for Nottingham Geospatial Building
  • 2010 ─ RICS Awards East Midlands - highly commended in sustainability category for Nottingham Geospatial Building
  • 2013 ─ BREEAM outstanding for Energy Technologies Building PDF format
  • 2014 ─ BREEAM Education Building of the Year for Energy Technologies Building PDF format

Sustainability Team

Estate Office, University Park, Nottingham, NG7 2RD


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