One Pool Street - Sustainable Accommodation at UCL

21 November 2023

UCL has incorporated sustainability into One Pool Street's fabric and services. Take a quick look at the first building to open in the UCL East campus and how it's an important part of UCL’s vision to make change possible.

One Pool Street viewed from across the bridge to Marshgate

Opened in Autumn 2022, One Pool Street was built to have a low environmental impact and to make the most of the energy it uses. The design of the building contributes to each of the three strands of UCL’s “Change Possible” sustainability strategy; in particular the ‘Positive Climate’ strand of the strategy.

Nawed Khan, Senior Project Manager in UCL Estates Development, said “We are really pleased with our work at One Pool Street. The project has given us the opportunity to incorporate sustainable practices and features into the design and construction of the building right from the start.”

From the outside, One Pool Street has highly shaded façades, which are carefully designed to prevent overheating and to break down the force of the wind blowing across the park. The innovative window design allows for two settings, including a discrete tilted 'vent' or fully open. The slats may appear to be a decorative feature on the building façade, but serve a safety function that allows residents to safely open the window fully. This flexibility allows for good air flow, natural ventilation and shading without obstructing the view.

Large windows, and glazed rooflights, also help to maximise natural light into the accommodation, which reduces the need for artificial lighting during the day. This cuts down on energy consumption while the natural light provides multiple health and wellbeing benefits, including improving mood and regulating sleep cycles. This simultaneous action of reducing energy usage and improving the experience of being in the building is a step towards our 'Positive Climate' objective of reducing our energy usage by 40%.

The building uses recycled materials in the structure reducing the amount of overall new material harvested for construction. In a similar manner to UCL's Student Centre, One Pool Street uses the 'thermal mass' of structural content to regulate temperature change all year round to minimise the need for mechanical heating and cooling. This reduces the building's future energy requiements while making use of a by-product, reducing the amount of new material required to build.

One Pool Street incorporates its location in the Queen Elizabeth II Olympic Park into its exterior space. The third-floor terrace provides outdoor amenity space for building users, with living labs for students studying ecology and the environment are located on the first-floor terrace. Non-accessible roof space have been sewn with green roofs, which are beneficial for insulation and temperature regulation, as well as helping to 'slow the flow' of run-off water into drainage.

Ben Stubbs, Head of Sustainability (Built Environment) at UCL is proud of how One Pool Street enables sustainable travel: “We are proud that One Pool Street is on track to achieve high BREEAM ratings. This includes maximum credits in the transport section, by supporting students who wish to cycle, with extensive cycle parking and facilities. This complements the priorities in UCL's sustainability strategy and encourages links within the local community and nature.”  

One Pool Street is managed by UCL Accommodation. UCL also works in partnership with University of London, Unite and Urbanest to provide a range of accommodation options for UCL students.