The original design for the University of East Anglia campus, by Denys Lasdun, allowed for a merging of the natural with the built environment. UEA now balances the 1960s concrete legacy buildings with newer, low-carbon additions.
The central spine to our campus, the Lasdun Teaching Wall, poses particular challenges to estate strategy. A major component of the next phase of the Energy and Carbon Reduction Programme (2020 to 2025) is likely to be the refurbishment of the 1960s campus buildings, with energy reduction in mind alongside improving environmental conditions.
UEA was an early adopter of the low energy/carbon agenda, with our low carbon campus journey beginning in the early 1990s.
We recognise that reducing environmental impact is best achieved through long term planning. We work through several strategic documents, including:
- UEA Design Guide (new in 2016)
- Biodiversity and Landscape Management Plan (to be published 2017).
Hickling and Barton Houses
UEA is developing new residential properties on campus. Hickling House and Barton House were the first two buildings to be built, and received tenants in September 2016.
The tight time frame and budget were achieved through the use of innovative new information-sharing technology (Building Information Modelling, or BIM) and a careful nurturing of relationships with local industrial and policy stakeholders to ensure that every part of the project went as smoothly as possible.
Chief among the project’s achievements are its sustainability credentials, from its wooden frame construction to its careful consideration of water, heat and power conservation. These were embedded in the design from the start.
How can buildings affect behaviour?
Crome Court residences opened in August 2014, and it is often challenging to find out how users feel about new buildings. Cardiff University PhD researcher Adrienne Rokosni has been studying young adults' views on environmental issues and how they use their accommodation from a sustainability perspective.
Interviews revealed that most residents have found Crome Court appealing and are aware of the sustainable character of the building. This awareness was attributed by the researcher to good communications and student engagement, which will inform future projects.
Crome Court has also been revealed to be a place where many students meet the concept of sustainability for the first time, and where some individuals have adopted new, sustainable practices and started to popularise these within their families and among their friends.
The Enterprise Centre
The Enterprise Centre has won an incredible 25 awards (as of May 2017), including The Guardian Sustainable Business Award, three RIBA (Royal Institute for British Architects) awards, and the British Council for Offices — Best of the Best award.
The ambitious project is the first large-scale building to achieve both Passivhaus Certification and BREEAM Outstanding, two of the highest eco standards a building can meet. As a result it is one of the UK’s most sustainable buildings, with only 446kg of CO2 per square meter of embedded carbon in the fabric of the building.
The Enterprise Centre has a 100-year design life, and local materials are used throughout. The building’s timber frame was sourced from Thetford Forest, flint from Holt, and straw from Beccles and Dereham. Recycled and upcycled materials were used extensively; for example the exterior wooden African Iroko panels were upcycled from UEA Chemistry and Pharmacy lab benches.
In 2015-16, The Enterprise Centre generated 30% of its consumed electricity though its rooftop solar panels. That’s 148,000kWhs, equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of 46 average houses.