NEDEF Sustainable campus
All our new construction and refurbishment projects are to achieve sustainable design standards – following our own in house specification for new building design and SKA Gold for refurbishment projects. The University is in the process of a review of the campus masterplan, a ten year phased capital investment programme to bring about the transformation of our campus.
Campus sustainability map

Campus sustainability map

We've created a sustainable campus that reduces our impact on the environment, giving you a live sustainability learning experience. This campus trail tells you more about our sustainability activities and the technology that we have on campus, much of it hidden behind the scenes in the building’s structure.
You can take a tour of the campus sustainability features on our interactive sustainability map.

Our commitment

We aim to:
Goal 1: For refurbishment projects 
  • Design and deliver refurbishment projects to target SKA Gold standard for suitable projects. 
  • Upgrade existing buildings to higher levels of energy efficiency and reduced carbon emissions. 
Goal 2: New construction projects
This includes small and large capital works and large extension projects.
  • Design buildings to deliver low carbon in use buildings.
  • Aim to deliver energy for space heating must not exceed 15 kWh/m2/year.
Our performance:
Our performance on recent construction and major refurbishment projects is provided on the timeline below.

In progress

Babbage Building

A central component of the University’s campus masterplan, which will allow the University to provide cutting edge teaching facilities for engineering and design based academic programmes for the next generation of students. Expected completion is July 2023. Key sustainable features of this high performing building include:
  • Solar PV.
  • Air Sourced Heat Pumps.
  • Fabric first sustainability strategy with highly insulated wall build up and airtightness.
  • Reuse and incorporation of existing Babbage concrete frame into new building results in a saving of between 1500–1700 tCO₂e when compared to demolishing Babbage and building new.
  • SCORS A+ rating, exceeding LETI and RIBA 2030 targets.
  • Low water use fittings.
New Engineering and Design Facility


InterCity Place

Completed in 2023, InterCity Place provides a new specialist teaching facility for the next generation of nurses, midwives, allied health professionals​, optometrists and social workers. The building creates a centralised space for interdisciplinary teaching and research. Key sustainability features include:
  • Solar PV
  • Mechanical heat recovery
  • Air source heat pumps
  • Future proofing BMS people counting sensors
  • Thermally efficient façade
  • Reuse of concrete frame retaining embodied carbon
  • Targeted SKA Gold Rating
  • Low water use fittings
Intercity Place East Elevation Night
Portland Villas

Portland Villas

Complete in 2023, these Grade II listed buildings went through a full refurbishment on the South side. We have improved the footprint of these buildings where possible by:
  • Introducing rimless toilets which require less water for cleaning and a maximum flush of 4.5L compared to the standard 6L
  • Aerated taps reduce water quantity used
  • Kitchens have been constructed in Britain and wooden items are of FSC or PEFC origin
  • Insulating the roof space


Completed in 2022 as part of an innovative research project.
  • Award wins in construction
  • Award nominations for research
  • On campus living lab for thermal performance of buildings and energy efficiency 
  • 40% lower CO2 emissions compared to traditional masonry materials
  • Innovative cob material that meets new thermal and structural building regulations
To book this space, contact the Sustainability Hub.
Discover more about CobBauge
Sustainability Hub

The Sustainability Hub (Kirkby Lodge)

The Sustainability Hub (Kirkby Lodge) reopened in 2019 and is designed to the highest SKA Gold Standards including:
  • 80 square meters of green wall home to over 90 plants per square meter
  • FSC certified sustainable timber cladding
  • Home to our Net-Zero Vision for Plymouth mural 
  • 4 kilowatt of photovoltaics
  • Reception digital energy display
  • Responsible sourcing for materials with a primary focus on reuse
  • Low flush WCs
  • Maximises natural light with energy efficient LED lighting and sensors
  • Naturally ventilated and passive design
It is also home to the Sustainable Earth Institute and the Low Carbon Devon projects which provides a space where businesses, social enterprises and community groups can mix with researchers and students around the issue of sustainability. Discover more about the Sustainability Hub and browse the before, during and after photos of this refurbishment. 

Derriford Research Facility

Opened in 2018 and is home to the University of Plymouth’s internationally renowned Brain Tumour Research Centre of Excellence.
  • Designed to BREEAM Excellent Standard
  • Solar PV
  • CHP
  • LED lighting throughout
  • Adjacent to Derriford Hospital
Find out more about the life-changing medical research facility here.
Marine Station from the side

Marine Station

Opened in 2014, the £4.65 million development provides a base for our marine expeditionary work.
  • The BREEAM Excellent standard building includes photovoltaics, generating electricity from the sun.
  • Combined Heat and Power (CHP) boiler, providing electricity and hot water for the heating and showering facilities, delivering savings in utility costs for the building.
  • CHP generates electricity whilst capturing usable heat that is produced during the process, usually a by-product in conventional boilers that is wasted.
    Discover more about the Marine Station.

The House

The House opened in September 2014 and achieved BREEAM Excellent rating for design, building works and materials used in construction. The materials used were responsibly sourced and included at least 25% recycled aggregate, whilst 70% of construction waste was diverted from landfill and recycled or reused. 
  • The occupied spaces make use of natural daylight. 
  • The electric lighting is controlled by proximity and daylight sensors. 
  • External lighting is energy efficient and controlled to only come on during night hours. 
  • Efficient LED lighting throughout. 
  • The building's occupied spaces are cooled by natural ventilation. 
  • There's a 20,000 litre rainwater harvesting tank to supply the toilets, whilst sensor-operated taps and low flush toilets reduce water use. 
  • Voltage optimisation controls the power supply to the building - reducing energy and power demand. 
Discover more about The House.
The House
Wellbeing Centre

Wellbeing Centre

Opened in 2014 to provide space for reflection, relaxation and health on campus.
  • Designed to BREEAM Excellent Standard
  • Solar PV
Find out more here.

The Marine Building

Opened in October 2012, the Marine Building is built to BREEAM Excellent standard. It is an example of sustainable construction whilst housing cutting-edge facilities for marine research – which in itself will include renewable energy research.
  • The building uses the sun's energy to heat hot water via solar thermal hot water technology
  • Harvested rainwater supplies the toilets
  • The building has low energy LED lighting and lighting sensors – reducing energy use from lighting
  • A 'blue roof' allows for temporary storage of water and subsequent slow release of stormwater runoff, an example of sustainable urban drainage design and mitigates excess runoff
  • Low loss transformers provide a more efficient way to reduce the voltage supply
Marine building
Roland Levinsky Building, University of Plymouth campus

The Roland Levinsky Building

Opened in 2008, the Roland Levinsky Building achieved BREEAM Very Good rating and has a number of sustainable features:
  • A copper wrap exterior for longevity, as well as recyclable properties and exposed concrete walls to provide thermal mass to maximize temperature control.
  • The roof uses roof lights to flood the atrium with natural light, and is home to a 6,000 litre rainwater harvesting tank that supplies the toilets.
  • A 2.2kW photovoltaic system powers the lighting in the cafe, which is also surrounded by Pilkington Suncool glass to reduce solar gain.
  • The remaining lighting consists of low energy LEDs operated by proximity sensors for lighting control.
  • The lecture theatres have separate air handling units to provide air conditioning only when needed.
  • The cross point atrium space utilises a low energy ventilation system, where fresh air is drawn into the building through below ground level air ducts. 
Find out more about the Roland Levinsky Building

Beyond campus

Our sustainable buildings reach beyond Plymouth. The Health and Wellbeing, Pool and Tremough Innovation Centres are all built to BREEAM Excellent standard, incorporating biomass boilers, natural ventilation systems and rainwater harvesting, and they all use locally sourced building materials. The Pool Innovation Centre also boasts photovoltaic cells to generate electricity from the sun, as well as a green roof to aid biodiversity and reduce heat gain in the building. Our Exeter Dental Education Facility opened in 2017 and was built to a SKA Silver standard.
A group of students walking across Plymouth campus near Drakes Place and the Reservoir Cafe

Discover more

Sustainability is embedded not just in operations across the University but also in our course provision, education methods and research.

Dartmoor expedition

Sustainability Courses and Programmes
Plymouth offers a range of sustainability themed courses and programmes across many disciplines.

Sustainability education

Sustainability Education
Discover how the Centre for Sustainable Futures works to embed sustainability across our faculties.

Aerial view from high altitude of little planet earth with small village houses and distant green cultivated agricultural fields with growing crops on bright summer evening

Sustainability Research
Our Sustainable Earth Institute is about advancing research, knowledge and innovation for a more sustainable Earth.