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New student village rises up

With buildings rising swiftly from the ground, very visible progress is now evident on the East Slope as constructors Balfour Beatty work through the wintry conditions to get phase one of our new student village ready for its first occupants in September.

For those hoping to get a first-hand look at the progress behind the hoardings, it is now possible to view construction activities through three new ‘vision panels’ that have been installed along Boiler House Hill.

Vision panels for East Slope

The development is progressing well, and the project reached a major milestone in January as the final concrete was poured to form the last of the phase one foundation slabs. Very soon, works to connect all of the main utilities to the site will be completed, and power is scheduled to be switched on in mid-February.

final concrete foundations

Many of the development’s environmentally friendly features are starting to be installed. A ‘brown roof’ has already been placed on one building to the south of the development. These biodiverse roofs are designed to increase native species of insects and birds, through the provision of additional habitat space.

In the summer, up to 40,000 tonnes of the chalk excavated from the East Slope will be relocated to a position on the west side of the campus, where it will be used to transform the area to a meadow of chalk grassland.

Chalk grassland is one of Western Europe’s most intricately diverse plant communities, supporting a whole range of wildlife from butterflies and wildflowers, to insects, mammals and birds – many of which are species that are unable to thrive anywhere else.

chalk grassland

The site has also taken delivery of new equipment that will see the East Slope residences benefit from a greywater recycling system. Lee Fletcher, Environment and Sustainability Manager for Balfour Beatty, explained: “The installed greywater recycling system will collect around 30% of the used water from taps and showers; this will then be used to provide part of the demand for toilet flushing across the development, reducing both water and cost.” 

Greywater recycling is just one of the features to be included in the finished development that will support the University’s ambition to ‘Go Greener’.. However, the Balfour Beatty team are also working to ensure that the environment is cared for throughout the build. Each month, volunteers from the East Slope site construction team take to the woodlands north of the construction site with litter grabbers and black sacks, ensuring that the area is clear of rubbish and debris.

A joint litter pick event organised by Balfour Beatty will see both construction team members as well as University staff clear litter from the East Slope woodland. The event will take place on 15 February as part of the Go Green week activities. To join in, email

Go Greener at Sussex

The University of Sussex has begun an ambitious journey to become one of the greenest universities in the UK and is working towards cutting its carbon emissions by 45 percent by 2020.

The University, which is home to some of the world’s leading sustainability academics, is engaged in a multi-million pound programme which has already seen more than 3,000 solar panels fitted on 29 buildings - the largest solar project in the UK higher education sector.

Go Greener will also involve the replacement of 27,000 light bulbs with more efficient LED lighting, improved heating and cooling systems, and the installation of smart metering across the campus.

Over the next three years the University will be looking to replace current energy systems with more sustainable alternatives, with the aim of becoming one of the most energy-efficient universities in the UK within the next ten years.

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Posted on behalf of: University of Sussex
Last updated: Friday, 9 February 2018


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