Decarbonisation restoration project completes on WWII Hangars at Cranfield University

Reading Time: 3 minutes
Cranfield University’s Facilities Team, R G Carter, CDG and KAM outside Building 85

A major restoration on two former ‘Type C’ pre-WWII RAF hangars at Cranfield University has now been completed by East of England construction company, R G Carter, reducing energy usage by 75% and helping to decrease carbon footprint.

The 4,200 m2 hangars were built in 1936, in preparation for WWII and are today occupied by Cranfield University for research and maintenance purposes.

Made possible through the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, the aim of the restoration was to preserve the historic external aesthetics of the hangars, whilst modernising the interiors to create a more comfortable, brighter, practical and sustainable workspace.

“This refurbishment has very much brought the hangars into the 21st Century and will help us make strides towards the University’s 2030 Net Zero Carbon target,” says Gareth Ellis, Energy and Environment Manager at Cranfield University. “We are already seeing positive benefits not only in terms of energy use reduction but also in the design, creating an impressive, modern workspace.”

R G Carter’s Project Manager, Karl Morris, said: “It has been a real honour for us to help Cranfield University restore and modernise these magnificent historic ‘Type C’ Hangars. Fine examples such as these are an important part of our Country’s heritage, and it is wonderful that this collaborative decarbonistion project has enabled them to continue to be used for many more years to come.” 

R G Carter’s internal Architectural and Engineering design team CDG, have transformed the hangars through an innovative and sustainable solution, designing an insulated, air-tight ‘box within a box’ using a coldstore panelling system which sits inside the hangar. New 45m x 10m steel-framed insulated automatic doors were installed at both ends of the hangars, further improving thermal efficiency, with new mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) works such as ventilation and LED lighting systems installed throughout.

“Our aim was to create a design which provided environmental, social and health and wellbeing benefits in a way that was quick to deliver. We are delighted to see our design has successfully transformed both Hangars in less than a year, into what are now light, inviting and warmer places to be.” explains Andrew Grant, Principal Architectural Designer at CDG.

RG Carter Cranfield Airport Hanger

The first Hangar, Building 84, was completed at the end of 2023, winning a UK Building Innovation Award for Most Innovative Restoration and Refurbishment Project. It is used for specialist maintenance for aircraft. The Hangar has since been visited by a variety of organisations in order to gain an understanding of the solution’s long-term benefits, providing a case study which could potentially be used to create longevity and environmental benefits for many similar hangars across the UK.

Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS) is funded by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero and delivered by Salix Finance.

Evelyn West, project coordinator at Salix said: “It’s inspiring to see such tremendous innovation and ambition at Cranfield which has set itself 2030 net zero carbon targets.

“We are delighted to work on the decarbonisation journey with Cranfield and see these energy efficiency measures in action.”

The Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme has been made available for capital energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects within public sector non-domestic buildings, including central government departments and non-departmental public bodies in England only, to provide the following objectives:

1. Deliver stimulus to the energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation sectors, supporting jobs.

2. Deliver significant carbon savings within the public sector.

For more information about R G Carter please visit: