Representatives mark the start of work on the ESI.

Ceremony kicks-off Environment and Sustainability Institute

A ceremony has marked the official start of construction work on the building which will house the University of Exeter’s £30 million Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI) at the Tremough Campus.

Held on Friday, the event follows the announcement that the Leadbitter Group has been appointed as the contractor to construct the state-of-the-art building.

Set to be at the cutting-edge of sustainable design, the building is expected to fulfil requirements for the highest possible classification of environmental performance (BREEAM ‘outstanding’).

It will reflect the work of the ESI, which will carry out cutting-edge research into the impacts of environmental change and the mitigation and management of its effects. This work will be carried out across three research themes: clean technologies, natural environment, and social science and sustainability.

It will engage with hundreds of businesses in Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly and beyond to translate its research and expertise across these themes into innovative business practice, products and services.

The centre has been funded by the European Regional Development Fund Convergence Programme (£22.9M) and the South West Regional Development Agency (£6.6M), as well as receiving significant support from the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

Professor Mark Overton, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Exeter said: “Our Environment and Sustainability Institute will be at the forefront of sustainable building design, reflecting its status as a world-class centre for research into environmental change, and engagement with business.  We look forward to working with Leadbitter to see the ESI and the other Tremough projects become a reality.”

David Collett, Area Manager for the Leadbitter Group’s Western Construction division, said: “The ESI will be one of a few buildings in the UK with the sustainability credentials to meet BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ standards — a significant achievement for the Leadbitter Group, the University and the south west construction industry. We look forward completing this fantastic new facility in Autumn 2012.”

Date: 5 April 2011

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