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Space Park Leicester scoops regional sustainability award

Space Park Leicester has been awarded a prestigious sustainability award for its use of long-lasting recyclable materials, low energy consumption, regeneration of a derelict brownfield site, long-life adaptability and contribution to economic and social regeneration. 

The innovative Midlands-based research institute picked up the Sustainable Project of the Year Award during the East Midlands Property Awards ceremony last month.

The pioneering space hub was presented with the highly respected accolade for its robust, sustainable and practical research facilities. 

The judges praised the transformation of the area. They said: “This was a bold project to create an exciting space industry institute, linked with the nearby National Space Centre.

“It transformed a contaminated brownfield site in a flood risk zone into a generator of social, economic and environmental improvement.” 

Shepeard Epstein Hunter, designed Space Park Leicester for the University of Leicester. Photo courtesy of Martine Hamilton Knight.

Space Park Leicester’s environmentally friendly building is clad with recyclable zinc, uses solar panels for renewable electricity generation and is naturally ventilated with heat recovery throughout its open plan layout. 

In addition, the building uses air source heat pumps, has high levels of non-combustible insulation and is located close to public transport routes and cycleways.

Martin Barstow, Professor of Astrophysics and Space Science at the University of Leicester, Chair of the Space Telescope Institute Council and Director of Strategic Partnerships at Space Park Leicester, said: “We have an amazing building. It has really delivered everything we wanted in terms of the quality of the environment and the variety of interaction spaces and laboratory facilities.

“The beautiful atrium creates a focal point for the occupants of the building and a welcoming landing space for visitors.”

He added: “The facility allows us to host industry partners side-by-side with academic researchers and creates a new model for collaboration.

“We believe we have created something unique in the world and a number of international visitors have confirmed this in their enthusiastic and positive comments.”

Steven Pidwill, Director of architect Shepheard Epstein Hunter, said: “This is a great recognition of the courageous initiative of the University and seven years of collaborative working with the whole project team.

“We hope the building acts as an attractive beacon for the site and communicates the mission of Space Park Leicester, which is all about people, space and the community – it is without barriers on the public-facing sides, creating a new sense of place together with the north façade of the Grade II listed Abbey Pumping Station, where previously there were just rusty palisade fences and anti-fly-tipping barriers.”

Photo courtesy of Martine Hamilton Knight.

The East Midlands Property Awards recognise the region’s top commercial and residential property deals, developments, builders, developers and personalities.

Since its official opening in March 2022, Space Park Leicester has also been recognised as a finalist in 13 other awards schemes and also won the ‘Place-Based Initiative of the Year’ accolade at the 2021 KE Awards.

Space Park Leicester has been designed to support increased collaboration between University of Leicester researchers and educators and the private sector, creating high quality knowledge-based jobs, building the skills base through training, and contributing to economic growth and resilience of the economy.

The project is led by the University of Leicester in partnership with Leicester City Council and the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP).