Joining the BREEAM team

Trailblazing low-carbon research labs at the University of Nottingham have received BREEAM’s highest accolade

An exemplar low-carbon building dedicated to the research and development of sustainable energy technologies has been named as BREEAM’s Education Building of the Year 2014.The Energy Technologies Building (ETB) at The University of Nottingham’s Innovation Park on Jubilee Campus is equipped with a host of eco-features. Designed and built with the intention of achieving a BREEAM outstanding award, it became the first laboratory in England to achieve this in July 2013.

Chris Jagger, the university’s chief estates and facilities officer, says: “We are absolutely delighted to receive this top-award accolade for this building from the UK’s building environmental performance accreditation body. It is further recognition of the achievements of the University of Nottingham in demonstrating the very best sustainability and environmental practice in new building construction.”

BREEAM recognise that certificated schools, universities and further education establishments represent an important investment in the future. Their education award acknowledges that, with help from the buildings they occupy, students are learning lessons in sustainability that they can take into their own lives and this is admirably demonstrated by the buildings on the 2014 Education Award shortlist.

Mark Gillott, professor of sustainable building design, attended the awards ceremony. “This is a very prestigious award and a huge accolade,” he says. “The competition is now very tough, with the winners gaining some of the highest ever BREEAM scores.”

BREEAM — which stands for the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method — is the world’s foremost environmental assessment method and rating system for buildings. It sets the standard for best practice in sustainable building design, construction and operation and has become one of the most comprehensive and widely recognised measures of a building’s environmental performance.

Gavin Dunn, director of BREEAM, says: “The outstanding quality of this year’s winning projects has set the sustainable development bar even higher. They are not only testament to incredible technological ingenuity but also to the resourcefulness and vision of the teams that brought them to life and their ability to put people at their heart.”

BREEAM encourages designers, clients and others to think about low-carbon and low-impact design, minimising the energy demands created by a building before considering energy efficiency and low-carbon technologies. This year the five highest-scoring buildings in each scheme were put before a panel of eminent industry judges. The judges made the final choice of winner, taking into account the BREEAM score achieved alongside factors such as the value of the building to its occupiers and users and particular site constraints.

The building, part funded by the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund, is also home to the UK’s first hydrogen refuelling facility.

Worldwide 250,000 buildings have been certified with BREEAM assessment ratings and over a million registered for assessment since it was first launched in 1990.

Stephanie May, the BREEAM consultant who worked on the project, graduated from The University of Nottingham in 2010 with a degree in MEng architecture and environmental design. This course is highly focused on environmental design issues to equip graduates with a skill set appropriate for the delivery of truly sustainable buildings. Stephanie now works for Anderson Green Building Services Consultants.

The university has a total of seven BREEAM-accredited buildings. Another four are in the process of being certified and four more are in the design and building stage. This includes the GlaxoSmithKline and University of Nottingham collaboration to construct an innovative carbon-neutral sustainable chemistry laboratory.

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