Improving biodiversity through living buildings

Our innovative approach to urban infrastructure means our buildings have a positive environmental impact, particularly on biodiversity.

Whilst much of our work conserving biodiversity focuses on our 1000-acre estate, we also ensure that all of our construction projects include measures to ensure that any green space lost to building is not only replaced - but actively enhanced.

One of the most noticeable ways in which we balance maintaining biodiversity with enhancing student facilities is through living buildings - meaning natural features on buildings are a regular sight across our entire campus.

The Life Sciences Building

Opened in 2014, the Life Sciences Building further illustrates how urban developments can really foster biodiversity, with two sedum roofs, a vertical living wall comprising over 6,700 plants, and bat and bird roosts.

The Richmond Building (home to the Students' Union)

Above the Students' Union building, we converted a 300m2 rooftop into a hotbed of vegetative activity, with 27 species creating a native wildflower mix, including thyme, ox-daisy, and harebell - that's roughly double the number of species found in a regular garden lawn! The green roof is also home to a significant number of invertebrates.

The Arts and Social Sciences lecture theatre

Above the lecture theatre sits a blue roof - essentially a green roof, but with a deeper reservoir for rainwater. This means that, not only can more water-dependent plants thrive, the roof regulates the building's temperature, benefiting wildlife and helping to alleviate 'urban heat islands' by absorbing and reflecting the sun's rays.

Find out more about our School of Arts regeneration sustainable construction project.

Results highlights

The green roof on the Students’ Union building contains 27 species of native wildflower - almost twice as many as in a regular garden lawn.

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