THE first zero-carbon business school building in the UK has been launched.

Chief executive of the Open Data Institute, Gavin Starks, helped open the new landmark earlier this month, joined by business leaders and representatives from across the region.

The state-of-the-art £21million building is part of the Knowledge Gateway – Essex University’s 43-acre research and business park, and is set to provide new opportunities to work with the university to drive innovation, create jobs, increase productivity in the public and private sector, and generate growth.

Describing the project as a “fantastic space at such an important time” and highlighting the huge economic potential of harnessing data, Mr Starks said: “There are huge opportunities for UK business, so I am really excited by the business school and looking forward to seeing the outputs, outcomes and impact of its work.”

Vice-chancellor Professor Anthony Forster said: “We know working collaboratively with businesses across the East of England is key to our success, and through investments, like the new Essex Business School building on our Knowledge Gateway, we are really keen to play our full part in the region.”

Prof Geoff Wood, Dean of Essex Business School, said: “This beautiful new building is a centre of excellence for education and research in business.

“Our new home creates a collaborative environment where students, staff and business partners can work together to solve global business challenges. The fantastic learning spaces we now have will also help our students develop the knowledge, skills and integrity to flourish in a global marketplace.

“The fact this new building is zero carbon shows we don’t just talk sustainability and ethical business, we live it. The design reflects our commitment to responsible business practice in both our teaching and research.”

Essex Business School is one of the top 25 business schools in the country in terms of the quality of its research, with two-thirds of its research rated as “world leading” or “internationally excellent”. More than 1,700 students from more than 130 countries are studying at the business school – including 300 postgraduates.

The designs for the new building were created by BDP to reflect the Business School’s ethos of sustainability and the construction project was overseen by Morgan Sindall.

A stunning winter garden with Eden Project-like domed roof is at the heart of the site, creating its own micro-climate. More than one tonne of carbon is saved a day through the building’s energy-efficient design and the use of low carbon technologies.

State-of-the-art facilities include a virtual Bloomberg trading floor and innovation booths for group working, plus dedicated working space for postgraduate students.

The new building is a flagship building on the Knowledge Gateway, designed to become the location of choice in the eastern region for knowledge-based enterprises in science, technology and the creative sector.

Parkside Office Village, just across from the new building, is already providing a home to close to 20 businesses, with new phases under development due to the level of demand. At the same time a £10million innovation centre, accommodating up to 52 new start-ups, has also just been approved.