March 1, 2017, by Charlotte Anscombe

The GSK Carbon Neutral Laboratories for Sustainable Chemistry are officially opened

Monday 27 February 2017 saw the official opening of The University of Nottingham’s ‘green lab’ on its Jubilee campus.

The GSK Carbon Neutral Laboratories for Sustainable Chemistry (CNL) were designed to ensure minimal environmental impact. They incorporate all the latest developments in sustainable construction and renewable energy provision to ensure that they will have a zero impact in terms of embedded and operational carbon over 25 years.

Around 250 guests turned out to see the magnificent building and had the opportunity to take behind-the-scene tours ahead of the official opening.

‘A cathedral of chemistry’

Opening the proceedings, Professor Sir David Greenaway, Vice Chancellor of the University, welcomed guests. He said: “I’m thrilled with the conclusion of this. It’s great to see the work taking place in this fabulous asset.”

Among the room full of guests were representatives from each of the funding partners (GSK, HEFCE and The Wolfson Foundation), who helped the building come to life.

Paul Ramsbottom, Chief Executive of the Wolfson Foundation, praised the building and the research taking place there: “This is a building that sings of the activities that it houses. So it sings of quality, the quality of the research and the quality of the architecture, but above all of course, it sings of sustainability.

“I suppose I was expecting a more utilitarian type of building and so it’s a wonderful surprise to walk round the building and find – not just high quality, not just a sustainable building, but a rather beautiful building – a cathedral of chemistry you might say!”

Dr David Sweeney, Director for Research, Innovation and Skills at the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), said: “It’s the work of academics, and buildings like this, pushing forward the frontiers, that will sustain our research reputation and our economy in the years to come. Nottingham is just simply a shining example of this.”

‘Pace setters for green chemistry’

To conclude the speeches and to unveil the commemorative plaque, Sir Andrew Witty, CEO of GSK and Chancellor of the University, said: “This building needs to be defined by the legacy it can now create in terms of change  and the impact of thousands and maybe millions of reactions over the next 20,30 40, 50 years globally.

“We should aspire to be the absolute pace setters for the development of green chemistry across the world.”

Following the speeches, guests were invited to participate in an interactive panel session on ‘How Chemistry can take us to a sustainable future’. The session featured contributions from Sir Andrew Witty and leading green chemistry experts Professor Paul Anastas from Yale University, and Professor Sir Martyn Poliakoff.


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