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Sustainable Construction

Embedding Sustainability within our development projects

Queen’s University is committed to ensuring sustainability is incorporated into every aspect of its operations, teaching and research. The Estates Directorate ensures all development projects are designed to a high, sustainable standard. All projects greater in value than £1 million are designed to a BREEAM Excellent standard, whilst refurbishments achieve a BREEAM Very Good rating. 

Sustainability Concept

The University is committed to ensuring minor and major works on buildings incorporate sustainability into every aspect of design.

Queen's buildings have been designed to ensure people can connect with the natural world by incorporating soft landscaping to create a visually pleasing recreational space and biodiverse setting. This is thought to improve the health, wellbeing and productivity of occupants, and visitors.

A consultation process occurs for every large-scale construction project, with building users, stakeholders and the local community. This ensures sustainability has been embedded from the beginning of the design process. 

Modelling is undertaken for all new builds to ensure optimal thermal performance, providing sufficient solar control to reduce the need for mechanical cooling. Significant consideration of building materials is undertaken to ensure choices are robust with a long-life cycle, contribute to the buildings energy efficiency and are sourced via sustainable avenues. 

Energy Performance

The University is focused on minimising its impact on the environment and is therefore keen to limit carbon emissions.

Investment into alternative energy sources at several sites across campus has been undertaken, including geothermal heat pumps utilising borehole technology within the new School of Biology building. Within the future School of Management building, photovoltaic and solar panels will be located within the green roof to provide electricity and hot water. 

LED lighting is present in all new builds, and continual work is underway to ensure LED lights are integrated into existing builds where possible. Significant sub-metering of all electrical distribution boards for power, lighting, water and gas is present within new builds. This enables the Carbon and Energy team to monitor the building performance in use and react to any abnormally high readings.

Water Efficiency

Several strategies to reduce water consumption, including water leak detection, are employed throughout campus.

Other strategies include flow control devices, water metering and water efficient WCs and taps. 

Did you know that within the Wellcome-Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine rainwater harvesting facilitates water re-use.

Sustainable Transport

Queen’s University is committed to encouraging, and supporting, all staff, students and visitors to travel via sustainable means to Queen’s campus.

In line with Queen’s Travel Plan, minimal car parking spaces are created within new construction projects. Instead, resources have been directed towards creating a variety of cycle stands and shower facilities.


A major priority for Queen’s is ensuring all new construction projects enhance, rather than harm, our local wildlife.

New builds take place on existing brownfield sites, and a range of initiatives are used to enhance biodiversity, including the following:

  • Where possible protection of existing trees occurs. Where it is not possible, trees are replaced with native trees.
  • Planting which enhances wildlife, including planting of bee-friendly trees, shrubs and herbaceous perennials.
  • Provision of green roofs (sedum moss and wildflower meadow).
  • Installation of swift and bat boxes, and a swift calling system are being implemented within the future School of Management building.
  • Inclusion of 'Hedgehog Highways' is being planned for a number of sites across campus.
Sustainable Development Goals
The Sustainable Development Goals
Energy and Carbon Management
Energy and Carbon Management