University of Nottingham GSK Center for Sustainble Chemistry Carbon Neutral Laboratory UK

Alan Fox, AECOM

Case Study: University of Nottingham Centre for Sustainable Chemistry (CSC)

The Centre for Sustainable Chemistry will be housed in a brand new carbon neutral laboratory, the first of its kind in the UK. Part funded by GlaxoSmithKline, the building will serve as a hub to catalyse new collaborations with industry. The Centre will be unique in the UK not only in its design but also in its focus on world-leading research activity in sustainable chemistry that will aim for the highest "clean and green" standards to minimise environmental impact and ensure that the new chemistry developed is both energy and resource efficient, and sustainable.

The focus on sustainability will be reflected in the building itself, which will incorporate the latest technologies to allow it to be carbon-neutral over its lifetime. The building will be built from natural materials and the energy required to run the laboratory will be met by renewable sources such as solar power as well as heat and power from sustainable biofuel. The building services throughout have been designed to minimise energy use where ever possible, including an examplar naturally ventilated laboratory. Excess energy generated by the building will provide enough carbon credits over 25 years to offset the carbon used in its construction.

The building will occupy 4500 m2 over two floors and in addition to laboratory space for ca. 100 researchers, it will contain dedicated instrument rooms, a teaching laboratory for advanced undergraduate classes, and space for a range of outreach activities.

Construction of the laboratory completed in 2016.

Key Features

  • BREEAM Outstanding
  • LEED Platinum
  • Bio Fuel CHP
  • Low embodied energy
  • Photovoltaics
  • Low Energy Mechanical Ventilation
  • Naturally ventilated Carbon Neutral Laboratory
  • Variable efflux velocity fume discharge
  • Learning Objectives

    • Consideration of definitions for 'carbon neutral'
    • development of concepts to reality
    • Consideration of alternative strategies for laboratory ventilation
    • Moving from design to occupation and key points for energy monitoring


    Alan provides a lead role in the Laboratory and Pharmaceutical sector in AECOM Europe to ensure delivery of innovative and low energy design concepts. In addition he has played a key role in leading the design for the award winning low energy Sainsbury Millennium store and the innovative Halley 6 project for the British Antarctic Survey. Most recently he has lead the engineering design for the University of Nottingham Centre for Sustainable Chemistry.


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