A turf-cutting ceremony marked the start of work on a new net zero carbon building that will create up to 150 jobs in East Devon.
The Ada Lovelace Building, at Exeter Science Park, is due for completion in November 2020, bringing up to 150 jobs to the area.
The office and laboratory’s day-to-day energy aims to be net zero carbon thanks to ‘innovative designs’ such as 44kw solar roof-mounted solar-voltaic panels.
The three-storey building has been designed specifically for science, technology, engineering, maths and medical (STEMM) businesses, with flexible workspace depending on what is needed.
Dr Sally Basker, CEO of Exeter Science Park, said: “Our mission is to help innovative STEMM companies to deliver extraordinary growth and the Ada Lovelace Building will be the prime location for knowledge-based companies, both those from the Science Park looking to take their next step and new firms looking to relocate and grow.
“As well as helping to meet the demand for high-quality office space in the region, the innovative design of the building means that it will make more than it will take, being net zero carbon and highly sustainable.”
Councillor Ian Thomas, East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) portfolio holder for finance, and chair of Exeter and East Devon Enterprise Zone Board, said: “The Science Park is the flagship project within the Exeter and East Devon Enterprise Zone.
“This new building will build on the success already being realised at Exeter Science Park, with space in high demand.
“The Ada Lovelace Building will provide further opportunities for high-quality, high-value jobs in our district.”
Exeter Science Park Limited is the park developer and has four shareholders, Devon County Council (DCC), the University of Exeter, EDDC and Exeter City Council.
EDDC’s cabinet has invested £1.1m in the development of the building in conjunction with DCC as part of the Exeter and East Devon Enterprise Zone programme.
The Ada Lovelace Building is part-funded by £5.5 million from the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership’s (HotSW LEP) growth deal funding.
Karl Tucker, chair of the HotSW LEP, said the new space would be a ‘valuable asset in attracting innovative, knowledge-based companies to our area’.
He said: “The new Ada Lovelace Building – formally known as the Open Innovation Building – is one of our Growth Deal-funded projects designed to boost the economy in key sectors throughout the heart of the South West.”
The Ada Lovelace Building, named after the 19th Century mathematician and computer scientist, is being built by Midas Construction.