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Net Zero Carbon in Operation

17 Oct 2023
Sustainability Stage

UWE: Story of the first completed large scale Passivhaus project for a UK University
Matt Tarling, Director, Stride Treglown & Alistair Brooke, Assistant Director or Estates, UWE

Project Journey and Occupation
Presentation on the story of the first completed large scale Passivhaus project for a UK university. Completing in August this year the student accommodation project on the University of the West of England campus in Bristol will provide 900 bedrooms with supporting facilities in a 26,000m2 development. It is one of the largest Passivhaus projects in the UK.

Matt Tarling, Board Director at Stride Treglown has led and employed the design team from inception of the project in November 2019 through to its completion in August 2023. Alistair Brooke, Assistant Director of Estates at UWE has been responsible for appointing the design team and contractor and will share the client’s experience. The presentation explains the key principles of Passivhaus and follow the journey the university, design team and contractor has been on over the last 4 years.

The development contributes to the university’s carbon commitment to be Carbon Zero by 2030. Alistair will outline the University brief and Net Zero Carbon agenda. Matt will explain how the architectural design has sought to balance the health and wellbeing needs of students with the environmental targets. The scheme includes a range of accommodation typologies to suit students differing needs and budgets. Our interior designers designed sector leading common spaces following extensive student consultation providing study areas, a private dining room, café, and flexible exercise studio. These are arranged to ensure that every student is close to communal amenities which open into landscaped courtyards to encourage social interaction.

Student feedback and lessons learned from the project and its occupiers will form part of the presentation with Alistair providing additional comments from the Estates and Accommodation team responsible for operating the development along with performance data.

Pen Y Dre_Net Zero Carbon in Operation
Sophie Nicholls / Sustainable Communities for Learning Programme Manager/Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council
Mark Mordant / Arda Consulting
Nick Marsh / Director / Lawray Architects
David Evans / Senior Design Manager / Morgan Sindall

Construction has started at a significant refurbishment project to deliver the deep retrofit of the 1970s Pen Y Dre comprehensive school in Merthyr Tydfil, which when complete will be the first net zero carbon school in operation in Wales.

Driven by the Welsh Government’s announcement that all schools built and refurbished from 2022 must be net zero carbon, the scheme was partially funded by Welsh Government as part of its Sustainable Communities Learning Programme.

Lawray is working with tier one contractor Morgan Sindall to deliver the scheme which involves enhancing the building fabric, services and ‘Enhanced Fabric PV Offsetting’. The ‘Enhanced Fabric PV Offsetting’ scenario includes 5,780m2 of PV which was calculated to be required to offset the total carbon emissions at Year 1 of operation of the building. Overall carbon emissions are predicted to be a 71% reduction compared to the existing building.

Taking a Whole Life Carbon approach, the operational energy consumption of the building was evaluated together with the embodied carbon over a 60-year period. This included both ‘regulated’ and ‘unregulated’ energy, and the embodied carbon assessment (LCA) associated with the production, installation, maintenance, replacement, and processes at end of life of all proposed building components.

Assumptions have been made regarding grid decarbonisation scenarios to 2050. Our approach is fully aligned with latest NZC guidance including, UKGBC, and RICS Professional statements. Comparative options were then developed, tested against buildability, and evaluated in line with capital and lifecycle costs.

In this session we will share the key lessons learnt at Pen Y Dre to help other local authorities, schools and construction teams understand the steps needed to develop and deliver NZC in Operation retrofit strategies in school estates.


Ryan Turner, Pre-Construction and Commercial Manager - TG Escapes Eco-Buildings
Matt Tarling, Board Director Higher Education and Student Living - Stride Treglown
Alastair Brooke, Assistant Director of Estates - UWE
David Evans, Senior Design Manager - Morgan Sindall
Sophie Nicholls, Sustainable Communities for Learning Programme Manager - Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council
Mark Mordant, Director - Arda Consulting
Nick Marsh, Director - Lawray Architects



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