Sustainability: Urban Sciences Building

Constructing Excellence

The Urban Sciences Building (USB) is the pilot scheme on Newcastle University’s new Science Central Masterplan. It houses the University’s Institute for Sustainability, School of Computing Science and urban environment research laboratories. The building has been designed as a ‘Living Laboratory’ and shop-window for the university to encourage collaboration with enterprise partners and the wider community.

The USB has been designed to stand as a beacon of technical innovation and civic pride. It sets a benchmark for architectural and engineering quality for the remainder of the masterplan. The sustainability brief was to:

  • To achieve BREEAM Excellent
  • Collaborate and support the achievement of a bespoke sustainability framework including design, construction and operational targets
  • Develop and deliver the ‘Building as a Lab’ aspirations to support sustainability and energy research
  • Deliver within the constraints of the Science Central Masterplan Sustainability Framework
  • Monitor, manage and report on on-site sustainability issues against practice-as-usual and improved performance benchmarks

The project has provided Newcastle University with a major opportunity to make a step change in the way that its academic buildings are designed and operated. To support and drive this aspiration, a bespoke sustainability framework was developed, pushing far beyond BREEAM and Part L to provide an outcome driven and auditable approach to developing sustainability related targets for the project.

The framework incorporates targets across six core themes of sustainability. Initiatives as a result have included developing calibrated energy models, visualising BMS data on demand response, evaluating health & wellbeing, and assessing climate change resilience.