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Sustainable Buildings


We are committed to creating sustainable buildings at the University. Our goal is to endeavour to introduce sustainable factors into all new buildings and refurbishments, and to aim for the highest environmental standards that we can whilst achieving our academic priorities.

To meet this objective the University now uses the Building Research Establishments Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) when undertaking new building and refurbishment projects.

Sustainable Construction Initiatives

We are actively working towards a more sustainable campus in the following ways:

  • Sustainable Buildings – Our most recent build, the Creative Arts Building, has been awarded a BREEAM ‘Very Good’ rating. Where viable, future projects will be designed to achieve BREEAM ‘Excellent’ status.
  • Building Refurbishment – We have an excellent track record of refurbishing and bringing back into use redundant buildings. Examples of these are Canalside Mills and Milton Church, both of which have won building restoration awards.
  • Insulation Improvements – Over the last 15 years the University has spent c.£3.5m upgrading building and services insulation, a key factor in reducing energy use.
  • Active Energy Measures – These initiatives include the promotion of natural ventilation, heat recovery, daylight lighting control, effective maintenance and commissioning of plant. Together with the installation of sophisticated building management control systems.
  • Building Reclamation Materials – Three major University buildings are built either in part or completely with reclaimed stone from demolished buildings on site.
  • Design Intervention (Carbon Trust) – Major projects are submitted to the Carbon Trust “Design Advice Report” scheme. The report helps primarily to reduce CO2 emissions, achieved by the recommendation and installation of sustainable systems.
  • GreenBuild / BREEAM for Higher Education Project – A project aiming to make BREEAM more relevant for the HE sector, by creating a ‘standard scheme’ to assess the environmental performance of most University buildings. We expect to take part in the new assessment scheme, and hope to also be involved as much as possible in the initial consultation and piloting stages.

Sustainable Buildings

About the sustainable features and greener aspects of our properties:

Student Central

The brand new Student Central building is set a sustainable target of achieving BREEAM Excellent status.

It is a contractual obligation of GB Building Solution – the main contractor for the project to achieve this and they are well on the way to finalising their submission.

In addition the new building has no independent heating source and uses spare capacity on the boilers in Central Services.

On top of this, most of the building is also naturally ventilated 

Central Services Building

Ahead of its time in terms of reducing environmental impact, the construction of the Central Services Building in 1974 saw then state-of-the-art cooling systems installed using canal water as a cooling medium. Today around 38% of Queensgate campus buildings are still cooled using canal water.

Canalside Mills (Refurbishment)

Canalside West, a 6 storey converted mill, was awarded the Ironbridge Trust Award for the ‘Best historical building back into use’ following its refurbishment in 1995. Similarly, the refurbishment of

Canalside East that followed has resulted in several heritage building awards, since its conversion in 1998. The building maintains many original mill features over its 5 floors.

Milton Building (Refurbishment)

Remodelling of this former church and Sunday school into music and drama spaces took place during 2006, with the stained glass fully refurbished by Local Craftsmen. It has been awarded ‘Best Restoration Project’ by the Yorkshire Development Agency in 2006.

Creative Arts Building

Our newest building on campus, the Creative Arts Building, incorporates a range of eco-friendly features like solar panels and wind turbines, and is made of construction materials that will be fully recyclable at the ends of its life. It has recently been awarded a ‘Very Good’ BREEAM rating, one of the higher marks awarded to sustainable buildings. Follow this link for more details about the Creative Arts Building’s credentials.

Business School

The design brief for the new HUBS Building has stipulated it must achieve a minimum of BREEAM ‘Very Good’ accreditation and be put forward for a Green Gown Award. An ecologist has been engaged due to the proximity of the new build to the canal, a key wildlife area on campus. The University is looking to use canal water for cooling systems in the building (as achieved already for other buildings on campus), and to extend the existing district heating system.

The awards winner 2012, 13, 14, 15
University of the year 2013
QS 4 Star Logo
Athena Swan Bronze Award

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