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Environment and Sustainability Institute opens in Cornwall

The University of Exeter’s Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI), a £30 million environmental research institute at the University’s Cornwall Campus was formally opened on 23 April by more than 120 local school children.

The ESI leads cutting-edge interdisciplinary research to find solutions to the problems of environmental change. It is working with local children to inspire them to take up careers in research, and engaging with hundreds of businesses in Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly and beyond to translate its research and expertise into innovative business practice, products and services.

BDP designed the building which contains light-filled laboratories and collaborative working areas for three research themes: clean technologies, natural environment, and social science and sustainability.

The building has been designed to achieve BREEAM Outstanding and draws heavily on local materials and sustainable methods of construction. Outside in the courtyard, nectar-rich wild flowers provide a valuable resource to local pollinators and bat boxes are installed high in the walls. On the roof, solar panels provide electricity while innovative energy transfer systems reduce elements of the building’s electrical demand by more than 90%.

The building was visited by HRH the Earl of Wessex on 29 April as part of his tour of the new facilities at the Campus, including Falmouth University’s Academy for Innovation & Research (AIR) also designed by BDP and which opened in August 2012. The Cornwall Campus is shared and jointly managed by Falmouth University and the University of Exeter in an arrangement that is unique in the UK.