North West Regional Construction Awards revisited

North West Regional Construction AwardsContinuing our series in the run-up to this year's North West Regional Construction Awards at the end of May we look at another winner from the 2009 ceremony.

Environmental Sustainability Award

Winner: Lancaster University – County and Grizedale eco-residences

Designer: Avi Friedman, McGill University, Montreal, Canada. Bespoke design by Goddard Wybor Practice alongside university parties.

Type of Work: Higher Education

Project Overview: Design of the Eco-residences started in December 2005 and was finalised in October 2006. Construction commenced March 2007 (County and Grizedale); it was completed and occupied in January 2008 (County) and completed in September 2008 (Grizedale). The project aim was to deal with student issues over space, rent, independence and control with an awareness of environmental impacts of student accommodation. The project is special as it deals with issues of environmental sustainability, reduction in construction and rental costs, enhanced social space and improvements in design quality and specification. Awarded BREEAM 'Excellent' status.

Impact: Total cost of eco-residences was £23.9m (£29,830/student room). County scheme consists of 29 townhouses, four as family flats, one disability access flat and 16 bedsits. Grizedale residences comprise of 18 townhouses, 16 flat blocks with three DDA rooms. Financial impact led to a 15% reduction in student rents. Expected institutional benefits are reputational, enhanced student recruitment, alongside educational and financial benefits for students.

Innovation: Use of Building Management System (BMS) for students to monitor their carbon footprint and motivation for students to become more environmentally conscious. Collaboration with the Estates department and the Students Union to promote (and advise) reduced energy and utilities use and reward those with lowest carbon footprint with an opportunity to win £600/term, with facilities to monitor which townhouse is winning each term.

The Judges said the award "focused on biodiversity, energy efficiency and sustainable building and encouraged community engagement."

The North West Regional Construction Awards 2010, organised by the Centre for Construction Innovation, takes place on 27 May at Southport Theatre and Convention Centre.

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