Eco award win

Back row, left to right: Georgie James (BREEAM Assessor, Method Consulting), Nick Sendall (M&E designer, Method Consulting); Bob Alcock (Special Projects Director, the University of Exeter);  Rob Bradley (Regional Director, West and Wales, Leadbitter); and George Lewis (Head of Capital Projects, Falmouth Exeter Plus)


Front row, left to right: Michele Shoebridge (Director of Academic Services and Deputy Chief Operating Officer, the University of Exeter); Niamh Lamond (CEO, Falmouth Exeter Plus); and presenting the trophy, Mike O’Neill (Midas) with host, Gyles Brandreth.

Environment and Sustainability Institute is crowned Eco Building of the Year

The University of Exeter’s Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI) has won Eco Building of the Year in the Michelmores/Western Morning News Property Awards.

The awards ceremony was held at the University of Exeter on 25 June 2013 and was hosted by broadcaster, Gyles Brandreth.

Based at the University’s Cornwall campuses, the ESI is an interdisciplinary centre leading cutting-edge research into solutions to problems of environmental change across three themes: Clean Technologies, Natural Environment, and Social Science and Sustainability.

The ESI building has been designed to the highest standards of environmental performance through design, construction and occupation. The judges were impressed by the building’s innovative features which reduce its impact on the environment such as:

  • A 35,000ltr rainwater harvesting tank combined with low water use sanitaryware
  • An innovative system combining Combined Heat and Power (CHP), water-cooled heat rejection and a ‘coolth tank’ (another underground reservoir of water) which together reduce electrical demand of key facilities by over 90% and carbon dioxide emissions by 94% in comparison to traditional energy systems
  • On-site generation of almost a quarter of the building’s energy needs from sources including 250m2 of solar panels
  • High efficiency lighting switched through presence detectors, daylight dimming sensors and absence detectors
  • Natural ventilation systems
  • BREEAM (the BRE Environmental Assessment Method) is the world’s longest established and most widely used method of assessing, rating and certifying the sustainability of buildings. In achieving a design-stage score of 93.57, the ESI is the highest scoring building in the South West, having well surpassed the 85 points required to achieve an ‘Outstanding’ accreditation.

Professor Kevin J Gaston, Director of the ESI, said: “The Environment and Sustainability Institute represents the value placed on research into environmental change here at the University of Exeter.  It is an exceptional building and world-class resource for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.  I’m delighted that the ESI has been recognised as one of the most environmentally sustainable buildings in the UK and proud of everyone who contributed to this achievement.”

The construction of the ESI was project managed and delivered by the Estates & Development Services team of the University’s shared services delivery partner, Falmouth Exeter Plus.  Falmouth Exeter Plus is the exempt charity established by the University of Exeter and Falmouth University, with whom it shares and jointly manages the Cornwall Campus, to deliver their shared Higher Education services in the county.

“Our Estates & Development Services team and our colleagues from the University of Exeter should be extremely proud to have won this award, which is a significant achievement for our innovative Higher Education partnership, given the scope of the project, the complexity of the design and build, and the wealth of technical innovations that were required,” added Niamh Lamond, CEO of Falmouth Exeter Plus. 

This accolade was one of three first prizes that the University of Exeter was presented with at the Michelmores/Western Morning News Property awards.  At the University’s Streatham Campus, The Forum, won Building of the Year and the Mood Disorders Centre won Major Commercial Project of the Year for projects with a value below £3million. 

Geoff Pringle, Director of Campus Services for the University of Exeter said: “We are delighted to have been so successful in this year’s awards.  Continuing investment in high calibre infrastructure is vital for the University’s continued success as we strive to attract the brightest and best staff and students from around the UK.”

The ESI was funded by the ERDF Convergence Programme (£22.9M), and the South West Regional Development Agency (£6.6M), with significant support from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).

Date: 5 July 2013

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