University of Brighton refurb gets Green Gown Award

The multi-million-pound project won national recognition

A multi-million-pound project transforming a 1960’s University of Brighton building into a state-of-the-art research, teaching and information building has been recognised in the prestigious Green Gown Awards 2016.

The university and architects Fraser Brown MacKenna were named Finalist in the Built Environment category for what was one the largest retrofits of an occupied academic building in the UK.

The three-year refurbishment of the university’s Cockcroft Building in Lewes Road, Brighton, was described by judges as “an innovative approach integrating architectural, building services and structural design” which unlocked the environmental potential of the 10,500m2 building using the latest technology.

Innovations included an aquifer thermal energy store, potentially reducing energy demand, CO2 emissions and fuel savings. The system stores and recovers thermal energy beneath the ground and provides heating and cooling.

A spokesperson for the awards told the university: “On behalf of the Green Gown Awards Team we wanted to congratulate you on your achievement. Being a Green Gown Awards Finalist is something to be extremely proud of.”

Being named a Green Gown Award Finalist is recognition of the tremendous amount of hard work by a great many people and I congratulate all those involved in the programme – Sue Mchugh, Chief Operating Officer, University of Brighton

Sue Mchugh, the university’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “I am delighted with the news. Cockcroft is an integral part of our ongoing investment to provide our students and researchers with world-class facilities. Being named a Green Gown Award Finalist is recognition of the tremendous amount of hard work by a great many people and I congratulate all those involved in the programme.”

Earlier this year the Cockcroft project won in the Higher Education category of the Architects’ Journal Retrofit Awards 2016. Judges called it a bold project and a model for future similar projects.

The refurbishment was carried out whilst the building was still being used by staff and students and included:

  • Development of state-of-the-art new learning laboratories and office spaces to house schools within the university’s College of Life, Health and Physical Sciences
  • Installation of new windows to improve insulation throughout the building
  • Exposing the ceiling space to highlight the architectural features of the building’s interior
  • Opening up corridors in the building to improve lighting, people movement and provide social and informal learning spaces for students and staff to use.
  • Reducing noise levels by putting in place sound buffering and dampening features
  • Installing a new roof surface to improve insulation and energy efficiency

Established in 2004, the Green Gown Awards recognise exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by universities, colleges and the learning and skills sectors across the UK and Ireland. The judging panel consists of over 80 expert representatives, including Universities UK, Department of Energy and Climate Change, and the United Nations Environment Programme.

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