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The UK’s most sustainable uni?

University of Winchester is the UK’s first uni to secure green finance, as part of a bid to become the UK’s most sustainable university
Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod
The UK’s most sustainable uni?

Lending has been confirmed to fund a landmark new building at the University of Winchester’s West Downs Quarter.

A £30m loan from Triodos Bank, Europe’s leading sustainable bank, will ensure that the development, which includes a 250-seat auditorium and will increase teaching and support floor space by 20%, will be completed for the 2019-2020 academic year.

Design features

The new building boasts cutting-edge sustainability features, including a combined heat and power plant, heat recovery systems, solar PV panels, rainwater harvesting, a green roof and bat and bird boxes to promote biodiversity.

All electricity used to power the building will be bought from renewable sources.

Once complete, the building promises to achieve a BREEAM ‘outstanding’ rating in sustainability and contribute to the university’s ambition to become the most sustainable higher education institution in the UK.

The £50m development will also feature an art gallery, café, food hall, library and social learning areas. Award-winning Winchester-based architects, Design Engine, have been commissioned to design the building, which will also house the University’s Digital Futures computer and digital-related degree programmes.

‘We think it’s incredibly important that higher education institutions take social responsibility seriously. That’s why we put our ambition to be the most sustainable university in the UK at the centre of all the decisions we make. It is reflected in everything we do from the courses we offer, to the business decisions we make. This project – the most ambitious in our history – typifies our commitment to this cause and is made even better by receiving funding from such a like-minded and values-driven bank.’

Vice-chancellor of the University of Winchester

Click here to find out why Triodos Bank’s ethical savings accounts are a MyGreenPod Hero

Positive change and education

The university projects that the highly efficient new building will help to deliver its ambitious interim 2025 carbon reduction targets, having already achieved a 45% reduction in carbon emissions by floor area across its estate since 2006/07.

Rebecca Pritchard, head of business banking at Triodos Bank UK, said there is ‘a huge opportunity to promote large-scale positive change in the education sector.’

‘This is our first loan to a UK university and it represents a significant moment in the bank’s history by highlighting our commitment to supporting pioneering educational institutions.

‘Higher education is a cornerstone to building a more sustainable and inclusive society, and in the coming years we are looking forward to working with more universities that are aligned with this mission.’

Head of business banking at Triodos Bank UK

In 2017, approximately 650,000 individuals benefited from the work of 455 education initiatives financed by Triodos Bank. However, the landmark £30 million loan represents a milestone for the bank’s commitment to higher education by being the first loan made to a UK university.

Click here to find out how Triodos Bank is helping UK businesses drive positive change for consumers.

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