University of Exeter Northcote House, UK

Retrofitting the University of Exeter’s Northcote House to progress towards net zero. 

As part of its ambitious Workplace 2030 initiative, the University of Exeter has embarked on a transformational journey to achieve a net-zero carbon campus by 2030. We are assisting the carbon reduction aspirations for Northcote House, an existing 4,824m2 office building, to convert it into a responsive, spatially efficient facility that contributes to the University’s sustainability initiatives. 

Key information

Location:
Exeter, UK
Date started:
2022
Completion date:
Ongoing
Client type:
real estate
Main services:
cost management

Strategic approach

We have evolved our role and capabilities as cost manager to manage and account for the two currencies of construction, cost and carbon. On this project we used our whole life carbon toolset, based on our Embodied Carbon Calculator, to undertake carbon assessments on various design options and operational efficiency measures as part of the university’s wider net-zero roadmap. Our team of experienced cost management professionals were entrusted with providing the university with a reliable assessment of the cost impact of carbon reduction strategies to inform their business case and decision making at RIBA design stage 1. The university aimed to strike an optimal balance between minimising upfront embodied carbon and reducing operational carbon throughout the building’s lifespan, all while achieving cost-effective capital and operational outcomes 

To achieve this, we conducted a thorough assessment of the capital and operational cost implications associated with a series of design scenarios, presenting the university with a clear cost-benefit matrix to inform their decision-making process for choosing the strongest designs.  

Empowering informed decision making 

Data-driven insights, combined with upfront embodied and operational carbon assessment and forecasting, all contributed to the identification of the best decarbonisation approach to achieve the best value cost efficiency. 
 
The university's key stakeholders were empowered to make informed decisions at the critical early stages of the project. This financial and environmental data ensured the best possible allocation of capital for impactful carbon reduction measures, fostering responsible financial stewardship that contributes to its wider target of net zero by 2030. 

A shared vision for sustainability  

Our contribution extended beyond the immediate scope of the project. By establishing a robust baseline carbon position, we laid the groundwork for a tangible roadmap within the broader Workplace 2030 programme. This foundation will serve as a valuable benchmark, enabling the university to improve its environmental performance across its campus portfolio and maintain its progress towards achieving net zero. 

The collaborative effort highlights the power of data-driven insights in guiding sustainable development initiatives. By aligning financial prudence with environmental responsibility, we are actively contributing, not only to the University of Exeter's visionary Workplace 2030 programme, but also to the global pursuit of a more sustainable future. 

For further information contact:

Mark Rogers
Director, UK