Sustainability in design is becoming ever more prominent in both the minds of our clients and the regulation makers at all levels from European down. However, these regulations are very complex and often require a far more comprehensive response than a token solar panel on the roof.
We look at all aspects of sustainability from the outset of a project. We consider the orientation of a building to maximise passive heating and cooling measures. We can also advise you about where materials are sourced from; whether from a local source or transported greater distances with associated financial and environmental costs. Some materials are themselves recycled or bi-products of another industry such as pulverised fuel ash from power stations used in ‘green’ concrete.
We can discuss with you the pros and cons of installing energy saving features such as solar thermal systems or ground source heat pumps but we will also ensure that you have considered the more basic measures; loft insulation, double and triple glazing, draft proofing etc which can make an enormous difference with relatively minimal outlay.
The design and construction of a new building following the Passivhaus principals can be seen here.
Winner of an International Property Award, the Contemporary New Dwelling in Farnham used innovative construction methods to ensure high levels of insulation allowing lots of southerly facing glass without excessive heat-loss.
Another example of our sustainability understanding is a project undertaken in a remote part of Northumberland where mains electricity and water were the only options available as access to the property was difficult for any stored fuels. In this instance the ground around the property was available for laying a Ground Source Heat Pump of sufficient size to handle all heating and hot water demands from the property.
This was supplemented with a photovoltaic array to a suitable roof, partially grant funded, which helps to reduce the electricity burden of such a system. The added benefit meaning that a percentage of the electricity demand of the property can now be generated on site and help off-set any power cuts locally, which in a rural area such as this can still be a problem.
The insulation used was produced from sheep fleece, this has been something of a success story for a product of no real commercial value to sheep farmers prior to this. The stone for the rebuilt walls was locally sourced to help compliment the original building and also reduce the ‘carbon miles’ of supplying this material.
The building has been planned so as to maximise solar thermal benefits, using morning and evening sun to help heat the inside.