Design Engine’s new landmark West Downs Building at the University of Winchester has secured a £30 million loan from Triodos Bank, Europe’s leading sustainable bank. This is the first UK higher education project to secure green finance and the support from Triodos will ensure that the development, which includes a 250-seat auditorium and will increase teaching and support floor space by 20 per cent, will be completed for the 2019-2020 academic year.
Once complete, the building promises to achieve a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating in sustainability and contribute to the University’s ambition to become the most sustainable higher education institution in the UK.
The £50m development will also feature an art gallery, café, food hall, library and social learning areas and will house the University’s Digital Futures computer and digital-related degree programmes.
Professor Joy Carter CBE DL, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Winchester said: “We think it’s incredibly important that higher education institutions take social responsibility seriously. That’s why we put our ambition to be the most sustainable university in the UK at the centre of all the decisions we make. It is reflected in everything we do from the courses we offer, to the business decisions we make.
“This project – the most ambitious in our history – typifies our commitment to this cause and is made even better by receiving funding from such a like-minded and values-driven bank.”
The University projects that the highly-efficient new building will help to deliver its ambitious interim 2025 carbon reduction targets, having already achieved a 45 per cent reduction in carbon emissions by floor area across its estate since 2006/07.
Richard Jobson, Design Engine Founding Director, said: “Creating sustainable buildings is at the core of Design Engine’s work which has been consistently demonstrated by delivering numerous BREEAM ‘Excellent’ buildings over recent years. It is therefore incredibly rewarding to have the opportunity to continue our work with the University of Winchester (who are seeking to be one of the most sustainable universities in the UK) and design their most ambitious project to date whilst also reaching BREEAM ‘Excellent’. It is also comforting to know that the sustainable efforts made by the design team is taken right through to how it is funded through Green Finance with Triodos Bank.”