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The design and construction of environmentally sustainable new buildings

The University's Estate Development team works alongside the Sustainability Team to deliver sustainable concepts within the planning and delivery of its projects. 

Our construction consultants and contractors are expected to give high priority to environmental sustainability and are guided in this respect by our Design & Standards Brief. 

Download the Design and Standards Brief here.

BREEAM policy

The University of Cambridge has a policy on standards for new buildings.

View our BREEAM policy

Energy Cost Metric

The Energy Cost Metric was developed in response to a proposal by the late Sir David Mackay and colleagues at the Cambridge University Engineering Department that greater rigour be applied to decisions affecting the energy performance of their new buildings.  A key motivating factor in the development of the Energy Cost Metric was to create a methodology that drives cost effective decision making; ensuring eye-catching, expensive measures do not displace options that can deliver more energy saving per pound spent. Lifecycle energy embodied in components is combined with the operational energy consumption in a simple formula that indicates the lowest lifecycle energy consumption for options within a given capital cost.

Download the 2019 Energy Cost Metric Guide

Building/Room User Guide template

A 'building user guide' can help occupants of a building to understand how their building operates, and contribute to its efficient running. Below is a template building user guide, as well as a room user guide to help provide information on the operation of particular rooms, such as meeting rooms.

Other buildings issues

Contact the Sustainability Team for guidance and support on any of the following areas:

  1. Environmentally sustainable design and construction
  2. Guidance for the prevention of pollution
  3. Spillage guidance
  4. Any staff training requests.

Policy on Thermal Comfort

The University aims to provide a comfortable working environment for staff and students, and to comply with Health and Safety requirements while minimising carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and costs arising from the operation of heating systems. The Policy on Thermal Comfort sets out our position on heating and cooling.

 Download the Policy on Thermal Comfort


Legal Compliance

See our Environmental Legal Compliance page for a simple checklist of things to help you comply with environmental legislation in your University building.


Procurement - sustainability considerations

The University's procurement pages have useful guidance on sustainability considerations when purchasing or procuring goods and services, including a series of sustainability guides.


Sustainable Business Travel Guidelines

The University has adopted guidelines for its staff and students on what steps they should take to reduce the environmental impact of University business travel.

Approved by University Council March 2022.

Download our Guidelines for Sustainable Business Travel.

Pool bike guidance

Interested in setting up a pool bike scheme in your department? A number of departments and buildings have already done this, and we've compiled some best practice guidance showing you how it can be done.

Download our step-by-step guidance on how to set up a pool bike scheme.

Personalised travel planning

'Personalised travel planning' is an established approach that enables people to think about the way they currently travel and provides them with the information, advice and motivation to walk, cycle and use public transport more often. Our Travel Plan Manager has put together a training presentation all about presonalised planning, aimed at University of Cambridge staff.

Download our personalised travel planning training presentation

See more on sustainable travel at the University, including what's on offer to staff here.

See site travel guides showing all the key sustainable travel links for each of the university's main sites here.