At BU, sustainability is a key component when undergoing works to improve our estate.
This involves both developments to our buildings to make them more environmentally-friendly and increasing biodiversity around our campuses so that we continually improve our campus spaces to be healthy, happy and sustainable places for everyone in our community. This work is part of the reason why we're ranked 13th in the world and 1st in the UK for our contribution to UN Sustainable Development Goal 13: Climate Action (THE Impact Ranking 2022).
Our sustainable buildings
BU is proud of the sustainability credentials of its newest buildings on our campus, which feature a range of low or zero-carbon technologies to minimise energy and water use and provide excellent conditions to support academic endeavours. The Sustainable Construction Policy outlines BU’s commitments to continuing to invest in a more sustainable estate and we are constantly looking to improve, modernise and make our buildings and estate more sustainable. Over the past few years BU has opened two landmark buildings, the Student Centre and the Fusion Building, and has also carried out major refurbishment works in other buildings and across our campuses:
- Bournemouth Gateway Building, opened in 2021: our second largest building and the new home of our Faculty of Health & Social Sciences received a BREEAM rating of 'Excellent' and scored 100% for the categories of 'Management' and 'Water', plus 82% for 'Travel' and 78% for 'Energy'. It has solar PV panels producing up to 127kW of renewable energy; ground source heat pumps to provide low carbon heating and cooling; chilled beams for low energy cooling distribution; dry air coolers and adiabatic coolers; metering to ensure we can monitor and maximise energy efficiency; rainwater harvesting; LED lights; and ample bicycle storage and active travel facilities.
- Poole Gateway Building, opened in 2020: this specialist building achieved BREEAM 'Excellent' certification for its sustainability features. Its installation of new LED stage lighting saves over 100,000kWh of electricity annually due to the far higher efficiency of the LED studio lights and a reduction in cooling demand due to lower heat generation from the high efficiency lighting.
- Student Centre, opened in 2015: the central hub on campus for the Students’ Union has a BREEAM rating of ‘Excellent’ for its environmental credentials. The building has solar panels which provide electricity to drive the ground source heat pump, which in turn provides a renewable source of heating and cooling for the building.
- Fusion Building, opened in 2016: this building also has a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating and is host to solar panels, green roofs and a ground source heat pump. Its combined heat and power plant provides a highly efficient way to heat the building, while rainwater harvesting reduces our water demand and LED lighting and triple glazing also support energy efficiency. The building brings the outdoors inside with internal trees and its large glass dome which allows natural light into the building to reduce the need for artificial lighting.
- Studland House: this staff building achieved BREEAM 'Excellent' for its refurbishment in 2021, exceeding our original target of BREEAM 'Very Good'. Work on this project was nominated as a finalist in the South Coast Property Awards 2022 in the 'Sustainable Development of the Year' category.
- Biomass heating system: this system is a renewable source of heating on campus, burning sustainably sourced local wood chips to power our central heating system with the ash then used to fertilise the next generation of trees.
- Bus hub on Talbot Campus: this six-bay bus facility offers UNIBUS passengers a high-quality purpose-built facility for their commutes. The canopy shelter not only protects from the rain but is made from solar glass and generates electricity for us to use on campus. Read more about our bus hub.
BREEAM & accreditation
Our Sustainable Construction Policy requires any new building constructed by BU to meet or exceed a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating and for refurbishments to meet or exceed BREEAM ’Very good’.
BREEAM is an internationally recognised certification for the sustainability of buildings, environmentally and socially, and by having these requirements built into our practice we ensure that our new and existing buildings are as energy-efficient as possible. A prime example of this is the Student Centre which, when built, became the highest BREEAM rated building in Dorset.
All of our buildings have Display Energy Certificates (DECs). The DEC’s are based on a range of factors that vary across every building, such as energy used to run the building per square metre, and are benchmarked against similar buildings. Each building is provided with a score rating of 0–150+, with highest ranking buildings having the lowest score, as well as a letter grading between A and G. The average DEC score is around 100. BU’s average 2019 building DEC was a C rating with a score of 66.
You can read more about the environmental impact of our buildings on the Energy, Carbon and Water page.
Moving forward to net zero
Estates development is a key focus in our plans to reduce emissions, and we aim to implement a capital development programme that reflects this. Our key actions within the CECAP for this are to:
- Adopt and implement the UK Green Building Council Framework Definition for Net Zero Carbon on all major development projects
- Update the Sustainable Construction Policy with commitments to net zero and nature-based solution
- Implement net zero principles at the design stage for construction projects
- Ensure budget envelope includes net zero commitments including offsetting embodied carbon and waste emissions
- Install additional meters across our buildings