Our Campus Estate

As part of the Sustainable Policy, we ensure that all of our campus buildings have the functionality and systems in place to be energy efficient for the overall aim of being NetZero by 2050, whilst ensuring that we have the facilities in place for our staff, students and visitors to have the best experience in our campuses.

The University of Suffolk is comprised of 6 campus buildings:  

  • Waterfront 
  • James Hehir 
  • Atrium 
  • Library & Learning Services 
  • Arts 
  • Health and Wellbeing  

Each building energy efficiency is built into the Sustainability Action Plan to ensure that they are operating at low energy and low emissions. This is achieved through various initiatives and research that looks at how energy is being used, how it can be reduced whilst maintaining functionality of each building and how staff and students can be encouraged to undertake more sustainable ways of commuting and working from the University.  

Below is a breakdown of the various projects and strategies that have been put in place to achieve the goal of decarbonisation and energy efficiency for each of the campus estates. 

Campus Biodiversity

The University Campus Estate is situated within a predominantly urban environment, with mostly hard landscaping on both Waterfront and North Campus sites. Urban development can have a significant impact on our natural habitats.  With habitat modification having been identified as one of the most important drivers of biodiversity loss, the urban environment is becoming an increasingly expanding geographical area that could be used to support wildlife.  Enhancing our spaces is an important and challenging undertaking; to ensuring habitation availability for species, reduce carbon, enhance local air quality and support student and staff wellbeing. 

The Waterfront Building is a landmark complimentary to the Waterfront harbour, regeneration and skyline, and is designed to be an inspirational learning space, supporting flexible learning with open study on all floors. The building is designed to BREEAM standards, utilising a socially responsible and sustainable approach to design and construction.  

This campus estate comprises of six floors with one dedicated auditorium that seats up to 200 people, two main lecture theatres that can seat 140 people each and 34 teaching rooms, seating between 18-80 people which includes an exhibition space.  

The main sustainable features of the Waterfront building are the following: 

Sloped green roof that provides a vast number of benefits for the building both financially and environmentally. 

  • High performance glazing that reduces solar gain.  
  • Insulation structurally designed to act as a thermal battery. 
  • Walls and floors designed to withstand flood.  
  • Building Management System to manage heating and energy efficiency. 
  • Water saving features 
  • Extensive heat recovery system featuring a heat wheel that uses fresh air circulation so no air conditioning is needed. 

The James Hehir building consists of science laboratories, teaching spaces and a biodiversity green roof. It is situated on the Wharf area of Ipswich Waterfront. 

In 2019, the James Hehir building received a DEC performance rating 'D', due to the amount of energy is needed to keep core laboratory equipment operational throughout the day and night. To help reduce the energy that is consumed and increase efficiency for the building overall, the University is currently working with the LEAF (Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework) initiative.  

The LEAF management system, allows for close monitoring of laboratory sustainability practices. Each lab space is measured against a matrix that assists in identifying actions that can be taken to reduce the amount of plastic, water, energy and other resources overall and then assist the university in ensuring that lab spaces are reducing carbon emissions whilst creating an environment that supports quality of research. Each lab space is then awarded with either a Bronze, Silver or Gold level award dependent on how many sustainable actions are taken. 

The Atrium building situated on North Campus, houses a range of lecture rooms and computer laboratories. As part of the Sustainability Action plan 2018, the Atrium Roof Biosolar Panel Initiative received funding from SCCP and was due to be constructed in the Autumn of 2018.  

In 2021, the Solar PV array installed on the Atrium roof, generated around in total around 58261 kWh, which equates to 17 homes and since then, all electricity that is used within the Atrium is 100% renewable energy for Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions.  

In April 2020, the Swift Project was implemented and the Sustainability team worked with SOS to locate and install swift boxes along the side of the Atrium building to enhance the quality of habitat biodiversity on the Estates under which the University has management and operational function. 

Waterfront Sedum Roof 

The Waterfront campus has a sedum roof that creates a natural habitat for flora and fauna with increased photosynthesis. The environmental factors of the roof includes managing storm water, environmental masking and improves air quality and noise reduction for the building.  

The roof also assists with financial and technical aspects such as: 

  • Reducing the carbon footprint through lowering building running costs
  • Reducing construction costs and increases life expectancy
  • Aids in planning consent 
  • And increases property value 

James Hehir Biodiversity Roof 

The James Hehir building has a dedicated biodiversity roof to increase and research the local wildlife in and around the Waterfront area of Ipswich. Our biodiversity students carry out research tasks to study wildlife and habitat that inhabits the James Hehir green roof. The roof comprises of sedum much like the Waterfront Green Roof and bird boxes to encourage local birdlife to nest on the green roof. 

The University of Suffolk is situated in a predominantly urban environment which consisted of hard soil, rubble and other matter as a result of historic building works. We have worked together with the biodiversity students to create a wildflower meadow, located near to our north campus buildings to see how local flora can take to urban soil. 

Historically the area in which the meadow is situated, was built over previously from the old Suffolk College building that was demolished around 2009. In the year 2020, the Hold was built and the wildflower meadow was now home to the The Hold Battery Storage project. After the success of the battery installation, plans were put into place to rewild the empty space surrounding the battery storage, and the meadow project began. 

In 2022, the University worked with local schools to survey the wildlife meadow with positive results on the increase of flora and fauna in the area.

The University Wildflower Pond and Garden situated behind the Arts campus, is another example of researching flora and fauna within an urban environment. The Wildflower Pond is designed to increase aquatic fauna by letting nature run its course. Accompanying the pond, is a bug bank and garden which has seen activity in the form of foxes and badgers that have descended down from Brickmakers Wood.  

In 2022, the Sustainability Team worked with International Students to improve the look and biodiversity of the pond. This mini project involved planting wildflower pond mix in topsoil that was placed around the outer edge of the pond and the cutting back and clearing of the previous meadow plants. Wildflower meadow seed mix was then sown across the new soil which has allowed students to survey the area and identify the different wildlife and flora specimens that inhabit the pond and adjacent garden.  

A dedicated hedgehog gate has also been placed in the garden to allow hedgehogs to travel through the garden from the Brickmakers Wood.