Sustainability is absolutely fundamental to Architype’s ethos. It actively introduces its clients to sustainability features and strategies and even introduces green features when the client doesn’t specify them. All its projects bear the hallmarks of this approach – for example the client wasn’t involved with the specification of a wood pellet boiler and vertical axis wind turbine at its recently completed Creative Media Training Centre on Southwark Bridge Road, London. The building also features natural ventilation and 50% of the cement in the concrete core and basement slab was replaced with ground granulated blast furnace slag to cut embodied carbon. Architype is constantly pushing the boundaries of sustainability, for example by pioneering the use of single-skin clay blocks, which it introduced from Germany. This approach extends to its own offices. Not only are these models of green construction but the practice even uses soya-based inks to print its headed notepaper – which of course is recycled.
This practice demonstrated its mettle by designing the first home ever to hit level six of the Code for Sustainable Homes. But sustainability isn’t just for one-off prototypes – it cuts across all of the practice’s live projects. It uses a sustainability design matrix, which covers all elements of design and construction and is intended to ensure the original objectives set out by the client are actually met. And once the building is completed, the post-occupancy evaluation tool provides valuable feedback to improve future projects. The practice recently launched itself as a sustainability consultant and measures the carbon footprint of its business, which as you would expect is on a downward trend.
The architectural division of mega consultant Atkins has driven sustainability right into the heart of its projects. The process starts with the brief and is seen through using a variety of sustainability assessment tools. Atkins will introduce eco features into projects even without it being made a client requirement. An example of this is the DIFC Lighthouse in Dubai, a commercial tower that aims to reduce energy consumption by 65% and water by 40%, highly commendable in a place not known for placing much emphasis on resource conservation.
Aukett Fitzroy Robinson
This architect has leapt into the sustainability big league with the design of Britain’s greenest warehouse. This uncompromising building for brewer Adnams features lime hemp walls, a huge green roof and glulam beam structure and is an exemplar for the next generation of low carbon warehouses. Now Aukett Fitzroy Robinson is taking the experience it gained on that project and applying it to current schemes. It is also in the process of applying for environmental standard ISO 14001 accreditation.
Innovation is what marks HLM Architects out. It designed its own software, HLM-4D, to help deliver sustainable designs and has developed a product, CoolWall to increase the thermal mass of buildings using internal partitions. It has also developed a system for prisons that improves the indoor air quality, reduces the risk of overheating in the summer and reduces energy consumption compared to standard prison cells.
PRP has a rock solid reputation for sustainability. Many of its projects have excellent low environmental impact credentials, including the St Matthews social housing scheme in Brixton, south London, which has zero carbon space heating, and the Sigma house at the BRE innovation park in Hertfordshire, which achieved a Code for Sustainable Homes level five rating. PRP is also very active when it comes to promoting best practice – its staff regularly speak at conferences and it was a founder member of the UK Green Buildings Council.