Environmental Sustainability

Sustainable construction

Big organisations leave larger carbon footprints. We are committed to promoting positive environmental behaviours amongst our staff and students to maintain the grounds and buildings in an environmentally sensitive way, from start to finish. Doing this can have a local impact that makes a difference for our city and region, as well as making a welcoming campus experience. This is integral to our University Strategic Plan.

Overarching aims

  • To reduce the environmental sustainability impact of construction and refurbishment projects
  • To pursue options that positively enhance the built and natural environment for all

The University of Leicester owns a wide variety of land, but sites are typically dominated by concrete buildings in close proximity to busy roads and other hard-standing surfaces. Our aim is to manage the estate responsibly and embed environmental sustainability throughout.

Current activities

  • Writing Sustainable Construction Principles
  • Creating 'smart users' by including a soft-landing process for staff and students in identified buildings
  • Operating a reuse scheme for surplus furniture
  • Developed a biodiversity design guide for construction projects to ensure that each project results in a net gain for biodiversity

Our standards


The George Davies Centre adheres to the Passivhaus standard and focuses on air tightness to reduce the permitted space heating demand and primary energy consumption. As a new build, its construction demonstrates the University's commitment to carbon reduction and responsible development. However, one size does not fit all and our aim is to take the best principles of Passivhaus design and use them to improve our existing building stock and communication approach to users.


A number of the University's building are certified through BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method). This is a comprehensive environmental assessment method and rating system for buildings, which includes aspects related to energy and water use, the internal environment (health and well-being), pollution, transport, materials, waste, ecology and management processes. We aim for all new-build construction and renovation projects over £1 million to achieve EPC ratings of 'A', 'BREEAM 'excellent' at design stage.

Our results

Here are just a few examples of the ways in which our hard work and design is recognised in the industry.

Percy Gee


3R (Refurb Rethink Retrofit) - Best Public Sector Higher Education Building Award (awarded)

Zerofootprint Re-Skinning Awards (Toronto) (finalist)

David Wilson Library


BCO: The Midlands and East Anglia Regional Winner 'Refurbished/Recycled Workplace' Award (awarded)

Regional Winner Refurbished/Recycled Workplace Award (awarded)

Centre for Medicine


East Midlands Property Awards: Sustainable Project of the Year 2016 (winner)

Procon Leicestershire Awards: Sustainable Development of the Year Award 2016 (winner)

ENDS Environmental Impact Awards: Project of the Year 2016 in the Built Environment (winner)

S-Lab Awards: Sustainable Science Building Award 2017 (winner)

Global Goods Awards: Building Sustainability Project of the Year 2017 (winner)

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