UCL Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering


UCL’s first net-zero carbon building gets shortlisted at the 2022 Building Awards

27 September 2022

The Person Environment Activity Research Laboratory (PEARL) enters the shortlist of the 2022 Building Awards for Zero Project of the Year due to its innovative sustainable and accessible design.

Rectangular building with large brown panels on the bottom and smaller gray panels on top running horizontally across the building.y
PEARL, the Person Environment Activity Research Laboratory, is University College London‘s (UCL) first net-zero carbon in-use building. Designed by Penoyre & Pasad, this unique and self-sustainable facility was recently shortlisted in the 2022 building awards for Net Zero Project of the Year.

The laboratory’s goal is to improve the built environment for a more accessible and sustainable future. Beyond its empathetic architecture and human-centred design, the facility allows for life-sized environments, such as railway stations or high streets, to be built under controlled conditions.

Penoyre & Prasad’s design enables us to create an actively collaborative working environment so that it is easy for researchers to work with each other and members of the public to create a truly new world, better for people and planet - Nick Tyler, director of the Centre for Transport Studies, UCL CEGE.

PEARL’s facilities also allow researchers to examine how environmental conditions impact human behaviour and perception. They can also observe how people of different abilities interact with their physical environment to design urban systems that elevate spatial experiences.

PEARL building interior which is mostly a large empty 2-3 story space that allows for real-life scaled models of trains and streets

We are building outstanding educational spaces that reflect the innovation and ambition of UCL’s unique multi-disciplinary approach to learning, research and real world problem-solving and we are committed to doing this sustainably - Francesca Fryer, Director of UCL Estates

PEARL demonstrates UCL’s strategic commitment to lead and operate in a sustainable way. The building is part of UCL’s Civil, Environmental & Geomatic Engineering’s (CEGE) Centre for Transport Studies (CTS) and is also one of the core laboratories in the UK government’s EPSRC-funded UK Collaboratorium for Research on Infrastructure and Cities (UKCRIC). With these efforts, PEARL has achieved BREEAM Outstanding – the first finished building ever to achieve an Outstanding rating under the new BREEAM standards.

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