June 25, 2014, by sustainablenottingham

Towards a Sustainable Ningbo

I made my first visit to Ningbo, and to China, in early June with a view to understanding the challenges and opportunities to achieve a sustainable campus. Of course, there are different challenges in China – but exciting ones. For a start, the climate in Ningbo is one of extremes. It’s not unusual for temperatures to dip well below freezing in the winter months but to peak some way over 40 degrees celsius in the summer. That in itself makes it more difficult to achieve a comfortable working environment and means we’re designing buildings that cope well in the cold and extreme heat.

There is lots and lots of potential too – the campus compact design means it is easy to navigate between all the key buildings, such as the Science and Engineering Building, The Administration Building, and the auditorium, whilst new developments, across the Nottingham River are just a short walk over one of the bridges that link to the student accommodation, shops and cafes. As the campus and student and staff numbers grow it will be important to ensure the same high standards for waste and recycling schemes to be scaled up (the scheme on UNNC has already won a number of awards), travel and transport needs and energy and carbon management.

It was particularly exciting to be at UNNC during the 10th anniversary celebrations and the Tri-Campus games – seeing students and staff from our international campuses come together to compete. Without doubt, international opportunities are central to Nottingham’s future plans and therefore we will need to ensure the significant achievements we have made in the UK are replicated in China. There’s a lot to build on and some good practice – particularly the showcase Centre for Sustainable Energy Technologies (CSET)¬†where¬†CSET provides laboratory, office and seminar accommodation and was designed as an exemplar building, to minimise its environmental impact by being zero carbon and generating all of its energy requirements from renewable sources.

Whilst the campus is now established, it is clear there is future growth and opportunities aplenty. I am looking forward to working with my colleagues in Ningbo to take our sustainability journey forward. Not just in terms of the buildings and the grounds, but in how we engage staff and students through their teaching, learning and research – of which there is some excellent practice on show. Expect to hear more about the good work in Ningbo in future editions of the Sustainable Nottingham newsletter and here on this blog.


Andy Nolan

Director of Sustainability


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