Connect – Exchange – Collaborate @ the Sustainability Hub

In December 2019, the fully refurbished Kirkby Lodge officially reopened its doors as the Sustainability Hub, providing a dedicated space for staff and students to host external partners, engage with community and support local action groups.

Awarded the highest rating by RICS* for its environmental retrofit, and with biophillic design elements creating a connection to nature, the Hub offers an inspiring setting to interact on all topics of sustainability.

While much of 2020 has unfortunately seen the Hub’s doors closed due to the global pandemic, a range of events were held late 2019 / early 2020, where staff and students could connect with the community on local issues and wider global challenges.

In its short time the hub has welcomed a diverse range of community action groups, including the Devon Community Energy Network, Plymouth Tree Partnership, Environment Plymouth, Climate Action Plymouth and Plymouth Radical Cinema.

Among the first to use the space was Plymouth Energy Community, bringing together over 40 attendees from business, community and the University to engage on the topic of Unlocking Renewable Heat.

“The Sustainability Hub provides us a practical venue to bring both our community members and partners at the University together, and it’s also proven a very energising space where the synergy between our partners has resulted in some great collaborative outcomes.” 

Alistair McPherson, CEO Plymouth Energy Community

As a creative and exploratory space, the Sustainability Hub is an apt venue for the Urban Dialogues monthly ‘Playground’ sessions. Facilitated by the Arts Institute and Centre for Sustainable Futures, the network embraces community engagement as an opportunity for students, staff and community to explore opportunities together. To date, the Urban Dialogues Network has helped to facilitate over 40 environmentally focussed projects across the City.  

Trainee clinical psychologist Alice Walker, chose the Hub’s informal setting to host Plymouth Community Climate Conversations, inviting members of the public to share their emotional responses to the climate crisis. It provided a safe space for people to talk openly about their feelings and a forum for Alice to connect with the community on the topic.

Including a full communications suite, the venue provided the facilities required by Devon County Council’s Net Zero Carbon Taskforce to conduct two thematic hearings, gathering evidence for the county’s Carbon Plan. Livestreaming enabled the events to be broadcast via social media channels for wider public viewing and engagement.  

Offering a welcoming and inclusive space, the Hub brings people together to connect, exchange knowledge and work collaboratively on shared sustainability goals. We are looking forward to the post-covid future where the space becomes a Hub for action across the University and action across Plymouth, Devon and the wider world. 

Find out more and explore the Sustainability Hub

The Sustainability Hub was part funded by the European Regional Development Fund as part of the Low Carbon Devon project.

* SKA rating is an environmental assessment method, benchmark and standard for non-domestic fit-outs, led and owned by RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors).

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Spaces and Facilities

The Sustainability Hub offers a range of spaces to accommodate meetings, group work, conferences and events. Equipped with a range of audio visual and web conferencing facilities, large screen displays and accessible kitchen and bathroom facilities.