Construction and Refurbishment

Construction & Refurbishment – Sustainability Strategy and Targets

We recognise that construction and refurbishment of buildings provides the ideal opportunity to make design decisions which enhance the energy performance and sustainability credentials of a property and in our policy we commit to considering appropriate sustainable construction, energy and water efficiency opportunities in the design, modification, and refurbishment of new and
existing facilities and maintenance practices where practical. Within our Environmental Energy Management System (EEMS) we have also set an objective to reduce the environmental impact of the institution’s capital projects (see objective 8 of our Environmental Objectives).

As such, we have set a SMART target for the construction and refurbishment of buildings as part of our strategy for implementing the Environmental and Energy objectives in our policy, using the BREEAM standard as the specific measurable.

BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Assessment Method) is a building assessment which uses scientifically-based sustainability metrics and indices covering a range of environmental categories. Its categories evaluate energy and water use, health and wellbeing, pollution, transport, materials, waste, ecology, and management processes. Buildings are rated and certified on a scale of ‘Pass’, ‘Good’, ‘Very Good, ‘Excellent’ and ‘Outstanding’.

Our previous target which was introduced in 2014 was for all newly constructed and refurbished buildings across our London Road, Whiteknights and Greenlands campuses to achieve a ‘very good’ BREEAM rating, or better. Our new SMART target is to achieve an ‘excellent’ BREEAM rating for all new and refurbished buildings across all three campuses. In terms of timeframes, this has been introduced as a formal target as part of our new estates strategy which runs from 2022 to 2032, and the target BREEAM rating is required to be attained by the time of building/project completion for each new build or refurbishment project.

Brownfield sites are always prioritised for any development that is undertaken, with the focus being refurbishment and reuse of existing space. Although being delivered by a 3rd party, the new European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) headquarters is currently being planned for development on a brownfield site on the Earley Gate side of the University’s Whiteknights campus.

Progress against this target is tracked.  We currently have limited refurbishment and construction projects in progress:

  • School of School of Art refurbishment and extension: project has been completed and is currently being assessed for its BREEAM rating. It is on track to achieve a ‘very good’ rating, in line with our previous target.
  • URS Building refurbishment: this is the next major refurbishment project. This is currently at the planning stage, which proposes that the building will meet BREEAM Excellent standard. Feasibility studies have begun, with full construction works phased from 2024/25 to 2026/27.

A list of our previously assessed buildings is provided below, along with the rating attained and a link to the corresponding BREEAM certificate.

Last review date: Jun-23, next review date: Jun-24

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