Sustainable UCL


The Student Centre - a flagship for sustainability

The new UCL Student Centre is a benchmark of excellence for all future UCL development projects. The project achieved the highest possible levels of environmental performance.

UCL Student Centre

11 May 2021

Located on Gordon Street in the heart of UCL’s prestigious central campus, the New Student Centre provides a mix of learning spaces varying in character and size, creating different types of individual study and group collaboration settings, as well as more social learning environments. With 1000 new ‘study seats’, the building is focal point for university study and events.

Benchmark for excllence

The centre is a benchmark of excellence for all future UCL development projects. The high-quality design is responsive to change with flexible spaces and integrated technology and has been designed to utilise the latest sustainable technologies.

The building is also a flagship for sustainability at the University and the project team has achieved the highest possible levels of environmental performance. Going well beyond regulatory and planning requirements, an environmental assessment was carried out resulting in the highest possible BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ rating at final certification, a significant achievement matched by only a handful of buildings in the UK.

As well as reducing UCL’s environmental impact, key sustainability features also help to reduce running costs.


Benefits include:

  • ‘Passive first’ approach to design based on highly efficient building fabric which helps to regulate temperature and minimize energy use
  • Projected 35% reduction in building carbon emissions compared to Building Regulations requirements (Part L 2013)
  • Approximately 250m2 of photovoltaics (electric solar panels) on the roof – and stretching across to the adjacent Bloomsbury Theatre - provide clean, renewable energy
  • A ground source heat pump system linked to deep boreholes provides ‘free’ summer cooling and also supports heating during the winter
  • Windows automatically open to naturally ventilate the building in the spring and autumn
  • Efficient sanitary fittings reduce water consumption by more than 50% compared to equivalent buildings
  • Healthy and productive study spaces, optimising daylight, indoor air quality and providing a comfortable internal climate
  • Highly durable materials will help to minimise resource use associated with maintenance and repairs
  • Biodiversity enhancements include planting in the Japanese Garden and a green roof which will also have a positive influence on the microclimate