NAMRC, Rotherham



The new research and innovation facility at Sheffield University includes a large workshop, dedicated space for robotics and automation, laboratory and technical support space, a virtual reality ‘cave’ for assembly research and office space.

Sustainable design

A key requirement of the contract was to utilise renewable energy and minimise the building’s impact on the environment throughout design, construction and operations. The customer wanted the building to meet a BREEAM Excellent standard and set us target to divert 70% of waste from landfill. We surpassed these requirements and achieved BREEAM Outstanding at design stage.

Since completing the project we have carried out a post occupancy evaluation, paying particular attention to the internal environment and air quality and how well the building is operating. The design also included improved insulation, energy efficient heating and cooling, natural light, as well as the incorporation of renewable energy technologies.

BREEAM Outstanding at design stage

Tackling climate change

We selected Kalwall cladding for the office accommodation which is a translucent insulated panel. This material allows daylight in but reduces ar gain and glare, making the building more energy efficient.

Several renewable energy technologies will help to provide sustainable power and heat to the building, reducing the universities reliance on fossil fuels.

We installed an iconic Powerwind 56  wind turbine which stands 100m tall. The 900kW turbine will provide over 1,000,000 kWh of zero carbon electricity annually, which will be used to run the facility or exported to the grid providing additional revenue or carbon credits.

We installed a ground source heat pump (GSHP) system to provide both heating and cooling in the building. The GSHP transfers energy from vertical bore holes in the ground, which dissipate heat to cool the building, and conduct heat to warm the building. Provision has also been made for extending the use of the system to the adjacent properties using a District Heating and Cooling network.

Planning for the future changes to climate is becoming increasingly important. We wanted to minimise the impact of storm water on the local drainage system so we installed a 975m3 attenuation tank, located below the workshop ground floor slab. This collects the rainwater and slowly feeds it back into drainage system, minimising the risk of local flooding.Several renewable energy technologies will help to provide sustainable power and heat to the building, reducing the universities reliance on fossil fuels.


900kW turbine, providing over 1 million kWh

Resource Efficiency

On the NAMRC building, the roof panels, lift shaft and Kalwall cladding arrived on site ready to be installed through prefabrication. The first and second floor planks and staircases were also pre-cast, reducing the waste leaving site.

We worked with our sub-contractors to reduce the amount of waste leaving site, setting them targets and providing them with advice. Dry liners were encouraged to reduce plasterboard which sequentially reduced their material costs.

We segregated all waste and worked with a local wood recycling charity to make use of left over timber. Excess plasterboard was collected and returned to British Gypsum for recycling.

Smaller items of waste such as packaging were segregated into a compactor; significantly reducing the number of general waste skips needed for the project. We sent compacted waste to a local waste to energy plant serving the Sheffield City District Heating network. The waste from the plant, an aggregate, was then used as a graded granular material and used to construct roads. This means that all combustible waste material was diverted from landfill.

Overall, this resulted in 95% of waste being diverted away from landfill, surpassing our target of 70%.

Waste diverted from landfill


We installed bird, bat and bee boxes throughout the site to improve biodiversity within the area. A specialist sub-contractor was brought in to do landscape planting, which will benefit the local wildlife as well as improving the aesthetic of the local area.

Bird, bat and bee boxes installed on site

Sourcing responsibly

Where possible we try to employ people and source materials locally, helping to boost the local economy. For this project we secured a local company, Gripple, based in Sheffield to provide wire joiners and tensioners for mechanical and electrical installations.

All of the timber used on the project was from a certified chain of custody source (all FSC or PEFC) ensuring it was both legal and sustainable.



Chain of custody timber


Community engagement

The team has some keen cyclists who took on the challenge to cycle from Hollyhead to Cardiff in 24 hours. The non-stop race raised a total of £10,000 for Barnardo’s charity.



£10,000 raised though a cycle challenge


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