ESI Courtyard

Sanna Fisher-Payne, courtesy of BDP

The Environment and Sustainability Institute

About our building

The University of Exeter’s Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI) leads cutting edge, interdisciplinary research into solutions to problems of environmental change. Such work requires an exceptional building.

The award-winning ESI boasts three highly-resourced laboratories; a large research hall and dedicated workshop; a creative studio; eight Controlled Temperature (CT) rooms; a variety of work areas and meeting rooms; and a cafe, conference and social space in a central interactive area.  The conscious integration of different types of spaces within a single building encourages informal discussions between researchers and visitors, and facilitates genuine interdisciplinary collaboration.

The ESI has been designed to BREEAM ‘Outstanding’, the highest classification of the world's foremost environmental assessment method and rating system for buildings. Its score in this category was 91.57%; this was exceeded, after completion, by the score gained at the post construction stage (PCS), which was 94.33%.

Environmental features

  • Recycled plastic void formers in the floor structures minimised the quantity of concrete required in the building frame
  • Triple glazed windows provide ultra-high levels of insulation and air permeability
  • A bespoke integrated Combined Heat and Power (CHP), water-cooled heat rejection and ‘coolth tank’ system minimises the electrical demand of the CT rooms
  • A North Light harnesses and funnels natural light into work areas on the ground floor
  • A 35,000ltr rainwater harvesting tank stores ‘grey water’ for use in the Institute’s toilets
  • Bright, light, open-plan work areas reduce the need for artificial lighting
  • On-site generation, via 250m2 of solar panels, meets just under a quarter of the ESI’s daily power needs.

Continuing works

The work currently under way to restore the building's cladding is due to be finished, we hope, by early 2016. Local contractors are busy recladding the front of the building, following the previously-reported problems experienced in early 2015. The local, Delabole slate they're using will restore the exterior to its previous state and ensure its appearance, once the scaffolding leaves, remains unchanged. 

High-powered computing

Read more about how we meet the ESI's various needs for high-powered computing.

Find out more

For a detailed guide to the ESI building, download: An outstanding building - a BREEAM case study

For a short guide to the ESI building, download: ESI: An outstanding building and facilities