The ambitious transformation of the university's Grade II*-listed Newton and Arkwright buildings includes a 3,000sq m sedum roof that will provide a haven for insects and other wildlife.
The university aims to help improve air quality and absorb carbon dioxide with its green roof.
Hopkins Architects has been involved in the main building design for the project as well as the landscape design, with input from the university's environmental team.
Nottingham Trent University environmental officer Grant Anderson said: "We work really hard to minimise all of our environmental impacts, across what is a very large organisation."
The redevelopment work has been shortlisted for an environmental award. It is entered in the Sustainable Construction and Refurbishment category of the Green Gown Awards, which celebrate sustainable practices in universities and colleges. The winners will be announced at Imperial College, London, on 23 June.
As part of the £70m revamp, a piece of contemporary architecture is being inserted between the Newton and Arkwright buildings. The centrepiece is a glazed centre court with a walk-around balcony. A new quadrangle with pools and greenery will provide a quiet space.