Sustainable UCL


Grade 2 listed Kathleen Lonsdale Building refurbishment

The refurbishment of UCL’s Grade 2 listed Kathleen Lonsdale Building (KLB) will provide improved teaching, research and social learning spaces for Earth Sciences, Physics, Astronomy and Chemistry.


9 January 2020

KLB was originally completed in 1915 as the first purpose-built Chemistry building for UCL. Over the years it has been adapted to accommodate different departments and, as a result, spaces have become fragmented with complex circulation routes.

The project will consolidate the department of Earth Sciences, whilst also maintaining and refurbishing office and laboratory spaces for the existing occupants. It will increase the efficiency of space use by reducing the number of cellular offices whilst also improving the legibility of spaces and functions.

Achieving higher sustainability standards is particularly challenging in a heritage-listed building with a high number of laboratories; however, the project is on track to achieve an environmental rating of BREEAM ‘Very Good’, demonstrating significant performance improvements.

This includes upgrading the building controls and monitoring systems; introducing secondary glazing; utilising natural ventilation as far as possible; and upgrading the boilers and chillers – all of which will significantly reduce energy consumption. These interventions should help us to achieve a 23% reduction in overall carbon emissions.

Key sustainability features

  • Improved energy sub-metering will help UCL Estates to measure, monitor and manage consumption, identifying key areas to make savings
  • New highly-efficient lab equipment and LED lighting will significantly reduce energy use and carbon emissions
  • Indoor air quality will be improved through careful selection of materials and upgraded laboratory fume cupboards
  • The building’s energy supply will be supplemented using solar (photovoltaic) panels which will generate clean, renewable electricity
  • Some of the energy demand will also be met by UCL’s district heating network.
  • Upgraded bathroom facilities will result in reduced water consumption
  • The reuse of the building structure, and specification of new construction materials with high environmental ratings will reduce the overall impact of the works
  • Careful waste management will ensure extremely low levels of construction waste with over 90% of construction materials are diverted from landfill.