McBains Cooper: Gloucestershire Constabulary HQ

McBains Cooper: Gloucestershire Constabulary HQ
McBains Cooper: Gloucestershire Constabulary HQ

Not only does Gloucestershire police’s headquarters boast the largest geothermal heating scheme in the UK, it is a PFI project to boot. McBains Cooper was the architect, QS and structural, civil and M&E engineer and on this £19m project, which meant that it was instrumental in persuading its client that the system would provide the low-energy building it was after. The ground-source heat pump system is expected to use 30-40% less energy for heating and cooling than a traditional building while delivering a temperature range of between 7°C and 50°C. This helped the HQ gain a BREEAM “excellent” rating. The system also recovers the heat produced by the building’s IT equipment for use elsewhere and preheats all hot water. If that weren’t enough, McBains Cooper has installed a web-based building energy management system to provide performance feedback, enabling this multidisciplinary giant to do even better next time. No wonder it walked away as winner of this hotly contested category.

Highly commended

Blackpool council: Solaris Centre

Practise what you preach is evidently Blackpool council’s motto.

In partnership with Lancaster University, it has transformed a derelict art deco solarium into the Solaris Centre for environmental excellence. The centre is a zero-energy building, which means it generates as much electricity as it uses from photovoltaic panels, wind turbines and a combined heat and power unit. And the CO2 savings made form the focus of an exhibition inside the centre. It’s inspirational and educational all in one.

The finalists

Bauder: Brading Roman Villa

If you were set the task of protecting a collection of 4th-century mosaics, you probably wouldn’t think of growing plants over the top of them. But that’s exactly what roofing specialist Bauder did for this project on the Isle of Wight. The mosaics were suffering as a result of dry summers and winter frosts and Bauder’s “living green roof” is part of a design to tackle the problem.

Bauder: Inn the Park

With Buckingham Palace as a backdrop, the Inn the Park restaurant cafe was never going to be an easy one to design, especially as it had to blend into the park so well as to be almost invisible. Bauder’s green roof provided the perfect solution – and it as well as being a roof, it’s an integral part of St James’s Park, an insulating material and an acoustic buffer. And all this despite numerous last minute design changes. It’s so impressive you wonder whether the Queen might be tempted to pop in for tea …

Earthdome: 216 Stanford Road

The four flats at 216 Stanford Road in Merton, south-west London, may not look particularly unusual, but they are the first to be built using thin-joint dense blockwork, which provides the flats with a level of sound insulation among the highest ever measured by the Acoustical Investigation & Research Organisation. On top of this, the walls have increased thermal storage – particularly important as all the heating and hot water is supplied from natural ground heat.

Leadbitter Construction: Angelina Street

Leadbitter Construction worked in partnership with Cardiff council to build 48 dwellings on Angelina Street that are so energy efficient that a family can heat their three-bedroom home for just £150 a year. This has been achieved by solar panels, A-rated boilers, 100%-recycled-newspaper-wall insulation, natural fibre loft insulation and a host of other measures.