GSK Carbon Neutral Laboratories for Sustainable Chemistry

The latest landmark development to be undertaken by The University of Nottingham

Located within the award winning Innovation Park on the university's Jubilee Campus, the GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Carbon Neutral Laboratories for Sustainable Chemistry serves as a hub for sustainable scientific advances and collaborations within the industry. It incorporates the latest design technology, enabling it to be carbon-neutral 25 years from completion. The materials used in its construction have been selected to have the least possible impact on the environment, using natural materials wherever possible and products with a large recycled content or sustainably produced to limit the initial carbon cost.

Gleeds provided project management and employer’s agent services on the project that was constructed in partnership with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), who provided a £12 million grant as part of their ‘green chemistry’ commitment.  Additional funding streams were the Wolfson Foundation, Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and Impact: The Nottingham Campaign. The centre itself is unique to the UK, not only in its design, but also its focus on world-leading research activity in sustainable chemistry.

Sustainable solutions

The building has been primarily designed to be as efficient as possible in the use of heat and power. This involves combining a very effective thermal envelope with LED lighting and controls, on demand ventilation and heat recovery throughout the building. Overall this is estimated to result in savings of over 60% in power consumption, and over 80% in heat demand for a typical chemistry laboratory (according to Higher Education Environmental Performance Improvement [HEEPI] benchmarks).   This high standard of sustainable design, construction and site management allowed the project to successfully achieve both LEED ‘Platinum’ and BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ status – setting the benchmark for all new capital projects at the University.

Innovative design

By using state-of-the art and innovative design solutions, the project has had a significant contribution to the character and appearance of the surrounding area. The materials used throughout complement the existing campus style, for example, the grey tones from the terracotta cladding blend with the silver façade of the neighbouring buildings. The north facing green roof is also finished with a wildflower blanket, enhancing green space and campus biodiversity, with minimal maintenance and no permanent irrigation. The building has an organic form which not only reflects the character of the Jubilee Campus, but it allows the building’s features to flow into the rest of the landscape.

Did you know?

The design of the building is estimated to achieve an operating cost saving of about £95,000 per year. Of this approximately £22,000 is from the Low/Zero Carbon (LZCs), the remainder is from the other energy savings.


Project Management





Speak to us
Mark Plenty

Mark Plenty
Director, Higher & Further Education

This is bigger than just a building - it's a whole philosophy. It's the way that we will process and deliver the science and the way that we will target our science to sustainability-driven challenges. Peter Licence, Center Director, University of Nottingham