£5.4m research facility to be one of the most sustainable builds in the UK

The University of Nottingham and local construction firm Robert Woodhead are joining forces to build a brand new £5.4m research facility. Designed to Passivhaus and BREEAM standards, the building will be one of the most energy efficient research facilities in the UK.

Work on the RAD (Research Acceleration Demonstration) building on Jubilee Campus has now begun. It is being delivered by Nottinghamshire family construction company Robert Woodhead’s specialist team, Woodhead Education, which expects to complete the project by spring 2018.

As part of the University’s work with the Innovate UK funded Energy Research Accelerator (ERA) initiative, the RAD building will help provide more space and facilities for pioneering research projects.

Set on the former Dairy Crest site on Triumph Road, the building’s unique design is one of the first research constructions to combine the sustainability measures of BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) and Passivhaus.

BREEAM is used as a way of measuring how sustainable a building can be, as well as enhancing the health and wellbeing of its end users. The Passivhaus construction method provides buildings with a high level of comfort for its users, while using very little energy for heating and cooling. Structures are built with meticulous attention to detail and rigorous design and construction according to principles developed by the Passivhaus Institute in Germany.

Nottingham’s RAD design includes laboratory space for the various research groups, office space for academics and postgraduate students, as well as a central atrium with breakout spaces.

Professor Andy Long, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Engineering at The University of Nottingham, said: “This will be an exciting new facility, housing a number of demonstrators for the latest sustainable energy technologies. Working with academic and industry partners across the Midlands, this will support research and development aimed at meeting the UK’s carbon reduction targets. The building itself will also be an exemplar, exhibiting very high levels of energy efficiency”.

This is the third project delivered by Robert Woodhead on the Jubilee Campus in the past few years. Last year the team finished work on the Ingenuity Centre, which was created to reflect the site and the city’s local history, and before that the company completed the fitness suite extension to the Jubilee Sports Centre.

Craig Pygall, construction director at Robert Woodhead, said: “We’re delighted to again be working on behalf of the University of Nottingham on such an innovative and unique campus. The design of the building will sit fittingly among its neighbours on Triumph Road, much of its innovation, won’t be seen, as its BREEAM and Passivhaus standards will be built into the fabric of the building. I look forward to watching as this fantastic structure begins to take shape”.

The architect for the scheme is Lewis & Hickey, with BWB acting as structural & civil engineers and CPW as services engineer. AECOM is the project manager and Turner & Townsend is cost manager.