The UK’s Greenest Building

NBT Updates

After aiming to achieve the highest building standards across the board, the Enterprise Centre at the University of East Anglia (UEA) is being called the greenest, most sustainable building in the UK.

John French is the CEO of UEA’s Adapt Low Carbon Group and also directed the Enterprise Centre project. French was keen to build using (a minimum of 70%) natural and locally sourced materials, and ultimately decided to adopt the passive house standard for constructing the university’s new building. The brief also required the building to achieve a BREEAM Outstanding rating.

Collaborating to Achieve

To try to achieve these criteria, all parties involved in the construction collaborated and worked closely together to ensure a shared ethos and accurate execution. To complete a project like this to the desired standard, there needs to be an understanding between everybody working together. Despite budgetary strains, the effective communication between those involved ensured targets were achieved. Passive house standard was one of the key aims when building the Enterprise Centre and it is credit to all involved that this was kept within financial boundaries.


The Materials

Natural Building Technologies provided and assisted with the wood fibre insulation, earth and clay plasters and natural paints. This included Pavatherm Plus and Diffutherm woodfiber board which helps regulate the temperature of the building. It will be kept it warm in winter, but also cool in summer, due to the high thermal mass of the products.

The frame of the building is timber, as is the roof system, which was built off site using locally sourced Corsican Pine. By building with timber instead of a steel frame, not only was the low-carbon brief fulfilled, the cost was reduced too.

John French also commented on the effect that the natural and low-carbon materials have had on the users of the building. He said “Everybody who’s using the building now absolutely loves it. The feedback on how the building feels to the user, the ethos, air quality, natural materials, the spaces we’ve created. Everybody is completely wowed and blown away by the building”.


Project Statistics

  • Floor area: 3,400 m2
  • Airtightness Level achieved (at 50 Pascals): 0.21 ACH
  • U-Values achieved: U values of wall 0.122 W/m2K, roof 0.132 W/m2K, floor 0.128 W/m2K
  • Primary energy use: 115 kWh/m2/yr (figure could improve)
  • Space heating demand: 8 kWh/m2/yr

Images courtesy of Morgan Sindall.

Products used in this project…

Diffutherm, Pavatherm Plus