We’ve covered some of the innovations in green tech stemming from the University of Nottingham in recent years, particularly in the realm of wind power. (The university has made strides in recent years to to improve the financial margins on offshore wind power with giant wind turbines and energy storage, and to make small wind a big force in distributed energy generation.) But a key player in the U.K.’s overall focus on sustainability is located overseas in China.

According to Architzer, the Unviersity of Nottingham’s Centre for Sustainable Energy Technologies (CSET) focuses on the diffusion of sustainable technologies such as solar power, photovoltaic energy, and wind power. The campus is located in Ningbo, at the heart of the Zhijiang district, with operations concentrated in a single building, which beat out competing buildings from all over the world in 2009 to win the ‘Green Buildings’ award at MIPIM, a global property convention.

image via Arhitizer

Encompassing 1,300 square meters (around 13993 square feet) the building housing the CSET offers a center for visitors, research laboratories and classrooms for graduate classes. (These classes, this year, exhibit a distinct focus on green building, focusing on environmental engineering and renewable energy systems for the built environment.)

The building’s façade folds creates a dynamic shape, notable at a distance for its angular shape, reminiscent of a naturally occurring crystal. The building is entirely clad with a double skin (which aids in energy efficiency), comprised of an inner envelope of concrete and an outer envelope of glass. Adding to the drama is the fact that lighting installed between the two skins causes the appearance of the building to change from day to night.

A large opening in the building’s roof brings natural daylight down to all of its floors while allowing for efficient natural ventilation. Geothermal energy is used to cool and heat the building via the thermal mass of its floor slabs.

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