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Sustainable Student Village design competition launched

16.11.2006
Bids are being sought from developers and architects for new student housing at the University of Bradford which will see a unique environmentally sustainable community built on its campus.

The University is seeking expressions of interest for the right to build and manage the University’s £22 million ‘Sustainable Student Village’. Bidders are being invited to submit their entries as part of an international design competition for a development that will house 500 students in boulevards of traditional terraced houses.

The plans are a move away from traditional low-cost student accommodation, which has typically consisted of blocks of shared flats, which can be environmentally costly. The aim instead is to provide students with a self-sufficient community of terrace housing where students will share and be responsible for a house.

Clive Wilson, Director of Estates at the University of Bradford, explains: “Traditionally in shared student flats or halls of residence, all you’re renting is what’s behind your bedroom door. Everything else is a communal space that is not owned by the students and leads to little community engagement for the students living in the block.

“Our vision is to have small numbers of students taking ownership of a whole house and allowing them the opportunity to be responsible for all of it - including its energy consumption, waste recycling and the neighbourhood as a whole.

“We hope this will, to a degree, encourage a sense of social responsibility and, because of the design and layout, allow students to be more neighborly.”

The Sustainable Student Village is a flagship development in the University of Bradford’s ‘Ecoversity’ project, which aims to make Bradford a unique model of sustainable development and a world leader in the higher education sector. The environmental credentials being investigated for the Sustainable Student Village include:

- Efficient use of energy by using micro renewable energy generation such as biomass, wind and solar and incorporating triple glazing, super insulation and natural ventilation

- Using hot water from the University combined heat and power generators

- Exploitation of aspect with all units facing within 30 degrees of south

- The use of natural resources in construction, such as timber framing, modular designs or off-site prefabrication, with preference given to low embodied energy, natural, reclaimed, recycled and pollution-free materials and furnishings

- Harvesting rainwater (or grey water) from roofs for flushing of low-volume toilets

- Incorporation of features such as solar panels and wind turbines to fulfill energy requirements

- Waste recycling units incorporated within houses with waste collection points adjacent to developments

Whilst the Student Village will be built to 21st century standards, it harks back to some very traditional architecture. Clive Wilson added: “We’re building a village of terraced housing, similar to the terraces that were knocked down around 40 years ago to make way for the University’s current estate.

“However, we’re not going to be making these out of stone. We’ll be adopting new technologies to fulfill an even older ethos of utilising natural materials to help make properties energy efficient by keeping them cool in summer and warm in winter. You got the same effect with houses that were built this way hundreds of years ago.”

The University of Bradford has an investment plan of around £200 million to refurbish and modernise its 1960s estate with projects spanning the next ten years. The Ecoversity project will bring together this programme of already ongoing building improvements with objectives to create social well-being, a thriving economy and sustainable education courses to achieve greater campus-wide eco-friendliness and allow its students to truly understand the concepts of sustainable development.

The design of the new student homes and the Ecoversity programme will be unique to the higher education sector and provide a model of best practice for other higher and further education institutions both in this country and with existing partners in Europe, the USA and Asia.

It is hoped that a preferred bidder for the design competition will be selected by the spring of 2007. This will allow the development of the site and the first phase of student accommodation being available for occupants by the summer of 2008.

For expressions of interest from developers and architects, contact the University of Bradford’s Department of Estates and Facilities on 01274 233417 or e-mail ssv@bradford.ac.uk

For more information about the University of Bradford’s Ecoversity project, visit: www.bradford.ac.uk/ecoversity

Emma Banks | alfa
Further information:
http://www.bradford.ac.uk/ecoversity

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