The University of Bradford has created a unique student village which is now ready for its first residents – The Green. The Green has achieved the highest ever BREEAM rating for any building, at 95.05% – the highest accredited award for sustainable building development and operation. The development has beaten more than 1 million buildings assessed through this leading environmental standard since it was launched in 1990.
The Green is one of only 15 buildings in the world to achieve BREEAM’s highest classification of ‘Outstanding’, and the rating announced today sees the development top this premier list.
Consisting of 1,026 bedrooms across four-storey townhouses and six and seven storey apartments, the BREEAM rating has been made possible through meticulous planning of the design and construction methods.
The Green has been designed with a community, village feel in mind. Whilst it is its own self contained community it has great connectivity into the main campus and is in within easy of the City Centre, just a 5 minute walk. Regular bus services pass by the village into the City Centre, Leeds and other parts of the Yorkshire Dales. 2 new bus stops are being installed in preparation for the new students arrival in September.
At the centre of the Village is ‘The Orchard’ which is central hub building that has the Accommodation and Management office, laundrette and a small retail/coffee shop. The Orchard overlooks the central area and biodiversity pond which reuses rain water, provides a home for a number of animal and plant species and acts as a passive coolant in summer. There will garden areas in which students can plant their own vegetables and herbs.
BREEAM assessment uses recognised measures of performance, set against established benchmarks, to evaluate a building’s specification, design, construction and use. The measures used represent a broad range of categories and criteria, from energy to ecology. They include aspects related to energy and water use, the internal environment (health and well-being), pollution, transport, materials, waste, ecology and management processes.
The enhanced BREEAM rating of ‘outstanding’ was introduced in August 2008 to recognise a new standard of sustainability for exemplary developments. A score of 85% against criteria over different areas must be obtained to achieve Outstanding, compared to 70% for an Excellent rating. There are also higher minimum standards under Outstanding – for example 10 out of the 15 available credits for reducing CO2 emissions must be achieved, compared to the 6 required for an ‘excellent’ rating.
The buildings are made of pre-fabricated open panel timber wall frames from a sustainable source. Bathroom ‘pods’ were sourced locally and installed using a crane as completed units to maximise productivity and reduce waste.
There are interactive displays showing students what energy or water they are using, enabling them to compare their energy use against their neighbours in real-time. The building materials used, and the high standard to which the houses and apartments have been insulated and made airtight, means that rooms require little heating.
Radiators in the rooms have thermostatically controlled valves, and mechanical heat recovery ventilation units circulate fresh, filtered air, with an 80% recovery of existing heat from the building, resulting in a continuous supply of fresh air. All rooms in the flats and houses are lit with low energy lighting.
Water saving measures include…Aerated taps and showers that result in less water being used – as the water streams are mixed with air. Water is heating using solar panels, which pre-heats water for showers and taps. Dual flush toilets and rainwater is used to flush toilets. The pond in the centre of the village is used to harvest rainwater, as are the roofs of the buildings.
The houses and flats have extensive recycling facilities. Students are encouraged to consider every single bit of waste to assess if it can be recycled. This fits with current practice in the University – there are no bins in lecture theatres, social spaces or offices. Instead a range of recycling facilities can be found helping to seperate waste for recycling effectively.
Students will be encouraged to grow vegetables and dining rooms are large designed to enable the households to eat together. A team of Green Ambassadors will teach fellow residents how to live in the most sustainable way possible, and those that are careful with their energy use will get a rebate on their bills.