The Green, Bradford University, UK

About the building

‘The Green’ is a student accommodation development at the University of Bradford’s main campus.

The development encompasses a ten-block student residential village, comprising 1026 study bedrooms in ‘townhouse’ and ‘cluster flat’ arrangements. It also includes a hub building accommodating communal laundry facilities, offices and student facilities, and an energy centre building housing energy services plant and equipment.

The development was funded by joint venture partners Welbeck Land and Hayaat Group, with support from the University of Bradford, Yorkshire Forward and Bradford Metropolitan District Council.

BREEAM certification was a requirement of the University of Bradford’s Ecoversity policy, in addition to funding agreements and the aspirations of the developer and designers GWP Architecture.

Further information

Key facts

  • BREEAM rating: Outstanding  
  • Score: 94.11%
  • Size: 24,800m2
  • Stage: Final
  • BREEAM version: BREEAM 2008 Multi-Residential

Overview of environmental features

Key environmental features of the building include:

  • residential blocks constructed of sustainable and responsibly sourced panelised timber frame systems manufactured off site
  • a fabric first approach – high levels of insulation and airtightness (all blocks below 3.0m3/(hr.m2) @ 50 Pa)
  • a final EPC rating of A for each of the ten blocks
  • combined heat and power unit (CHP), solar thermal roof mounted panels and highly efficient gas boilers provide over a 26% reduction in CO2 emissions
  • mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR) providing constant fresh air and background heat
  • NOx emissions for site-wide heat related output under 40mg/kWh
  • SMARTmetering and a complex building management system
  • real-time energy use and water use displays provided to every student flat, earning the development a BREEAM Innovation credit
  • low-water use W/Cs, aerated taps and low-flow showers
  • rainwater harvesting providing over 50% of the development’s W/C flushing demand
  • energy efficient internal/external lighting and appliances specified throughout
  • high levels of acoustic performance – above 5dB improvement over Part E of the building regulations
  • Green Guide ‘A+’ rated building, hard landscaping and finishing materials specified where possible
  • prefabrication of the timber frame structure and complete bathroom units reduced construction waste and shortened the construction programme
  • SUDS (Sustainable Urban Drainage System) attenuation pond and additional anti-pollution measures adopted
  • vegetable planting areas provided for student use
  • social spaces provided externally, including communal BBQ areas and seating
  • re-development of existing site included a major enhancement of site ecology, protection of existing site features and provision on new wildlife habitats

The BREEAM assessment

The development achieved a BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ rating, scoring 95.05% at design stage – the highest BREEAM assessed credit score to date.

Credit scoring was high in all BREEAM categories. 100% of the available credits were achieved in the Management, Waste and Pollution categories, whilst credits gained in the Energy section contributed most to the overall score – 15.7% of the 95.05% achieved.

The scheme also achieved 60% of available credits in the Innovation category, through exemplary performance levels and the provision of real time energy and water use displays in the communal kitchen areas of each flat.

Building services

The fabric first approach aimed to passively reduce heating and cooling energy use from the outset. This was supplemented by a detailed energy strategy that included a combination of CHP, Solar Thermal, MVHR and energy efficient gas boilers to deliver heat, hot water and power from a significant proportion of renewable energy sources with low NOx emission content.

The MVHR system also delivers a continuous supply of fresh air in combination with an openable window strategy that improves the internal environment and controls ambient temperatures. The design specification avoided the use of mechanical cooling or refrigerants throughout the development.

Occupied spaces within each flat and communal areas are zoned to provide simple user control for heating and lighting, with lighting levels both internally and externally to best practice guidelines.

A complex BMS was specified to enhance user control and awareness of energy and water use – each flat is provided with a display to show real time consumption and flats are encouraged to compete to achieve the lowest equivalent consumption.

Water use is greatly reduced by a rainwater harvesting system that provides toilet flushing water to approximately 600 bedrooms – over half the development, and each bathroom has ultra low flush W/C’s, low flow taps and low flow showers.

Windows to occupied spaces were designed to maximise natural daylight and views out, but were also receptive to excessive solar gain with brise soleil fitted to south facing elevations.

Green strategy

The strategy to meet a BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ rating was targeted from the outset and a BREEAM Accredited Professional was appointed to manage the process. Key to the success was incorporating BREEAM compliance into the design concept and development, creating an environment that is both pleasant for the occupiers and inherently sustainable.

Communication, both amongst the design/construction team and with local stakeholders and future users was also a key factor in the development’s success.

In addition, the design promotes a social aspect and responsibility that goes beyond BREEAM issues, such as the provision of vegetable planting areas for users, and the ability to run competitions across the development as to who uses the least energy and water.

Project team details

  • Client: Hayaat Group Ltd and Welbeck Land Ltd
  • Architect: GWP Architecture Ltd
  • Project Manager: Spring & Company Ltd
  • Building Contractor: GB Building Solutions Ltd
  • M+E Consultant: Jackson Coulson Partnership
  • M+E Contractor: Balfour Beatty Engineering Services Ltd
  • Structural Engineer: Robinson Design Ltd
  • BREEAM Assessor: GWP Project Services Ltd

John Wybor, Director, GWP Architecture, said:

‘The Green is the latest example of the sustainable and affordable approach to student residential accommodation that GWP Architecture has been developing over the last five years.

‘The BREEAM framework allows us to analyse and understand where design elements are working well and also where further design attention is necessary. The scheme represents an on-going process in respect of achieving high levels of sustainability at affordable cost, and a process of continuing improvement.’



T: +44 (0)333 321 8811

find an assessor