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University wins top building performance prize

The University of Bradford has been named Building Performance Champion, for the second time, for its pioneering Ecoversity programme at the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) Building Performance Awards 2017.

The university’s department of estates and facilities came out on top at a tightly contested awards thanks to transformational work on its aging estates infrastructure over the last decade – reducing its carbon footprint by a stunning 35%, and becoming the only university in the world to maintain three ‘BREEAM Outstanding’ rated buildings in its portfolio.

Other winners on the night included AECOM in Building Performance Consultancy of the Year (over 1000 employees), Elementa Consulting in Project of the Year – International, and HLM in Project of the Year – Residential. The new Test of Time category was claimed by previous Champions British Land, who have demonstrated continued high performance since their 2012 win.

A consistent finalist at the Building Performance Awards, AECOM’s award is down to their outstanding commitment to improving industry best practice through guidance and training. Judges praised HLM’s winning entry, a house in central Scotland, for a commitment to innovation and sustainability that also featured stunning design, whilst Elementa Consulting were awarded for their commitment to sustainability through their ‘deep green engineering’ philosophy.  

Also victorious in the Facilities Management Team Award, the University of Bradford entry was commended for its approach to tackling inherent problems within its large stock of legacy buildings dating from the 1960s and 70s, including poor thermal performance, asbestos and large expanses of single glazing. By overcoming practical and organisational challenges, the University cut utility costs by 27% in a market that has risen 90%, and saved £8 million over ten years.

The judges were also impressed with the University’s long-term strategy, which involves engaging stakeholders from all areas of the campus and implementing an extremely robust Building Energy Management System, which delivers high quality in-use performance data. Other features of the strategy include LED lighting and controls installation; replacing transformers and pumps; engineering and control improvements to the district heating network; expanding the BEMS, and reviewing and optimising compressed air.

The Test of Time award is also a newcomer, introduced in the Awards’ tenth year to reflect the Awards’ legacy, and to reward continued high performance in a previous winner. By demonstrating that they have managed to maintain their impressive performance that won a Building Performance Award in the past, British Land are proving their commitment to excellence in the built environment and setting the bar for quality in the industry as a whole.

John Field, President of CIBSE, said: “We have seen the industry come a long way on building performance in the last ten years, and this year’s Awards are a testament to how much has been achieved in a relatively short period of time, and the excellent work that is currently being done.

“This year’s Champions, the University of Bradford, embody what it means to truly strive for building performance, achieving success in the face of adversity through sheer will and commitment to deliver the best. All the winners and finalists this year are examples to look up to, and demonstrate what can be achieved with any size and budget if the right thinking is in place.”

The full list of award winners at the CIBSE Building Performance Awards 2017 can be found here.