Project Overview

Located in Nottingham University’s innovation Park, the building provides laboratory facilities space for around 100 researchers, instrument rooms, teaching facilities for undergraduate classes, and space for outreach activities.

Built from natural materials and to high energy efficiency standards, the remaining energy requirements are met by on-site renewable sources such as solar power and biomass. Excess energy generated on-site aims to pay-back the embodied carbon associated with its construction within 25 years.


  • In April 2017, the building was awarded the BREEAM Outstanding and LEED Platinum certifications – the highest levels for both green building certifications
  • The building is designed to offset the carbon emissions from construction within 25 years of operation
  • An excess 40MWh of energy should be created by the building the first 25 years, and is being used to heat a nearby office development on the university campus.
  • The Centre’s location also encourages use of local public transport, with multiple bus services connecting the building to the rest of Nottingham and major transport hubs.

Approaches Used

  • A carbon data collection and auditing regime was implemented during construction and continues into the operational phase of the building.
  • Sub-meters are installed on all major energy consuming systems; this includes space heating, hot water, cooling, fans, lights and small power. A display screen in the Centre’s foyer shows real time energy consumption data. Monthly energy reports are produced and shared to both internal building users and with GSK.
  • Timber used for construction was either PEFC or FSC-certified.
  • A carbon model was created early on in the design process to inform product specification and to help reduce the whole life carbon impact.
  • The energy required to run the building is met by renewable sources, specifically biofuel heat and power generation alongside solar power.
  • The principal contractor was required to register with the Considerate Constructors Scheme.
  • A mix-mode ventilation system and heat-capturing technologies that recover heat from the laboratory’s energy intensive processes were incorporated in the design to reduce in-use energy demand. Cooling systems have only been installed where absolutely required.
  • The main laboratory has been fitted with a natural ventilation system. An extensive green roof, including drought-resistant crops, covers one side of the building. There is also a winter garden designed to capture low-level heat in the spring.
  • Chemicals at the facility are held in special storage units allowing individual laboratories to shut down operations at night, leading to reduced need for ventilation and cooling.
  • LED lighting has been fitted throughout, at an average of 5.4 Watts per square metre. Energy efficient laboratory equipment was also integrated into the design.
  • The building integrates a 230.9kWp photovoltaic array into its roof structure, covering 45% of the roof area. These generate an estimated output of over 200kWh per annum, offsetting over 100 tonnes of carbon per year.
  • The building also incorporates a 125kWe biofuel combined heat and power system which provides the majority of the heat required for the Centre.
  • Water saving strategies include a leak detection system installed and metering of all major water uses. A sustainable drainage system has been designed to absorb discharge from the green roof, dry swales and filter drains.