The laboratory, which is being part-funded by GlaxoSmithKline, will house The University of Nottingham’s Centre for Sustainable Chemistry.
The firm will start on the £15.8m laboratory build very shortly and it is expected to complete the project in early 2015.
The building is designed by architect Fairhursts to be carbon neutral over its 25-year lifetime.
In addition to laboratory space for around 100 researchers, it will also contain dedicated instrument rooms, a teaching laboratory for advanced undergraduate classes, and space for a range of outreach activities.
The University of Nottingham’s chief estates and facilities officer, Chris Jagger, said: “This building will be at the forefront of the next generation of highly sustainable wet chemistry research laboratory building design.
“We have commissioned the very best expertise in the project management and design team consultants.”
The building is set to achieve a BREEAM rating of ‘Outstanding’ and LEED ‘Platinum’ rating.
It will be built from natural materials and energy required to run it will be met by renewable sources such as solar power and sustainable biomass.
Excess energy created by the building will provide enough carbon credits over 25 years to pay back the carbon used in its construction.
Morgan Sindall area director, Richard Fielding, said: “This is an extremely exciting project to be working on; it’s a UK first and is set to push the boundaries of sustainable construction.
The project is being managed by Gleeds and the project team includes quantity surveyors Northcroft Services, structural engineers Aecom and CDM Co-ordinator WSP Group Plc.