This project will coordinate the SRS department's approach to working with Estates Development to implement Estates Sustainability Monitoring Evaluator (ESME) and other mechanisms for ensuring new build and refurbishment construction projects deliver buildings which facilitate our departmental and institutional sustainability and social responsibility goals


University of Edinburgh previously used BREEAM standards to ascertain whether the design of a building would result in it having low energy consumption in use. Over time it became clear that this process was flawed, and was delivering buildings which didn't meet our needs in terms of sustainability, or (sometimes) operationally. Thus a new set of criteria were devised which provide guidance on best practice in terms of energy, but also many other aspects of sustainable building design. The new criteria are known as the Estates Sustainability Monitoring Evaluator (ESME) tool.


This project involves SRS advising Estates Development Managers and Project Managers, as well as making recommendations to Project Boards when necessary. SRS will be one of a wide range of consultees invited to comment on building design.



To ensure the University of Edinburgh designs new buildings and refurbishments in such a way as to minimise any negative environmental and social impacts, enabling the institution to achieve its goal of Zero Carbon by 2040, Zero Waste by 2030 and other measures of sustainability.



  1. By 2022 all Estates Development Projects in progress (RIBA stage 3 and above) over £10m will be following the ESME guidelines



  1. SRS staff attend key project design meetings to ensure the criteria of ESME best practice guidelines are being implemented
    1. this will necessarily involve only a small handful of projects, which will be prioritised based on anticipated impact/risk
  2. SRS to review the content / ambition level of ESME in 2020 to ensure still fit for purpose
  3. Design a user-friendly interface for the ESME recommendations tool



  1. recommendations to project boards of sustainability measures which should be taken (where ESME is not in use)
  2. Reviewed and updated ESME in 2020
  3. 2019 ESME user interface is updated to be user-friendly

Success Criteria

  1. Building designs are compatible with Zero Carbon  by 2040 and Zero Waste by 2030, as well as other measures of sustainability such as supply chains
  2. Project management teams have an easy to use, up to date and relevant tool to utilise in order to guide the sustainability elements of the design


Resources, skills and costs

  1. Engagement Manager staff time to project manage, and to attend some design meetings
  2. Project Coordinators staff time to attend design meetings
  3. Project Coordinators staff time to attend training/mentoring if required to bring them up to speed on critiquing design
  4. Staff time of Director and Deputy Director of SRS to attend design meetings and also to meet with Estates Development management team when necessary

Project Stakeholders

  1. Estates Development management team: high interest, high influence
  2. Estates Development managers: medium interest, high influence
  3. Project Managers: medium interest, high influence
  4. Other consultees (e.g. H&S, Access and Inclusion, Finance, Estates): medium interest, medium influence
  5. Commissioned architects, mechanical and electrical engineers: medium interest, medium influence


Current project status

Report Date RAG Budget Effort Completed Effort to complete
August 2020 AMBER 0.0 days 0.0 days 0.0

Project Info

ESME / Sustainable Building Design support
SRS - Energy Engagement and Communications (EEC)
Project Manager
Andrew Arnott
Project Sponsor
Michelle Brown
Current Stage
In Progress
Start Date
Planning Date
Delivery Date
Close Date
Overall Priority


Not available.

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