Sustainable buildings

The Environmental Sustainability team advises the design process on all capital projects. In this way we can ensure that environmental sustainability considerations are built into every stage of the process, from design to occupation.

The Hub, Kellogg College

The Hub, Kellogg College's Common Room and cafe, is the University’s first Passivhaus certified building.

How we build a more sustainable Oxford

We contribute to developing sustainable buildings by:

Find out more


Passivhaus is at the cutting edge of low energy design. Buildings certified under the methodology are comfortable with exceptionally low energy use and will help us to reduce carbon emissions. Since mid-2017, capital projects design teams have applied the Passivhaus methodology and tools.

As well as improving the University’s ability to hit our challenging carbon reduction target, we expect the Passivhaus methodology will provide other benefits. These include:

  • reductions in building complexity and maintenance costs.
  • more comfortable internal environments with better air quality to help building users be more productive.
  • greater protection from rises in energy prices.

The Hub, Kellogg College’s Common Room and cafe, is Oxford University’s first Passivhaus certified building. Visit the Passivhaus Trust website to find out more about the approach.

BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method)

The University previously used the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) for major new construction and refurbishment projects. The University sought an ‘Excellent’ rating for all projects over £1m commencing between 2009 and 2017.


Many University capital projects demonstrate significant sustainable construction features.

These include:

  • ground source heat pump systems (Earth Sciences, Blavatnik School of Government, Beecroft, Said Business School and Andrew Wiles buildings).
  • thermal labyrinth (Big Data Institute).
  • combined heat and power (CHP) engines (NDM, Kennedy, Beecroft, Castle Mill phase 2, Summertown House and OMPI buildings).
  • green roof (Andrew Wiles, Earth Sciences and Blavatnik School of Government buildings).
  • solar panel installations (over 2,000 panels across the estate). 

We can all make a difference and help to realise energy savings by getting to know the buildings we work and study in across the University. Please take the time to understand your immediate environment and how to use your space efficiently, especially in the case of new buildings.

For more ideas, take a look at our Green Impact programme.