As the world slowly reopens and lockdown measures ease, our industry is being forced to adapt to a new reality. For many of us, this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to rethink the concept and purpose of architecture while simultaneously improving lives. Crucially, the focus should not just be on making the buildings more adaptable, but also more sustainable and environmentally sound.
This is because building and construction are together responsible for 39% of all carbon emissions in the world. From better energy and water efficiency, to waste and carbon reduction, our industry has a vital role to play in keeping our communities healthy and safe. Health and wellbeing should sit alongside net-zero carbon and energy efficiency targets if we are to accelerate the transition into a more sustainable future.
Back in 2015, HLM partnered with sustainable construction consultancy GreenBuild Consult to create the alliance HLMGreenBuild. The alliance provides consultancy across the entire project process, from the sustainability and design strategy through to compliance, construction on site, and operations.
HLMGreenBuild undertakes assessments and modelling to accumulate data that helps bridge the gap between statutory regulations and project design parameters. For example, Life Cycle Assessments (LCA) provide a detailed overview of energy use and other environmental impacts associated with all the phases of a building’s life cycle, while advanced environmental modelling methods helps determine energy demand at an early design stage to help source alternative materials that reduce impact.
A central role of HLMGreenBuild has been facilitating the resources needed to achieve BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) certification. BREEAM assessed buildings achieve an average 22% reduction in CO2 emissions compared to buildings designed to regulatory minimum performance requirements.
One such project that benefitted is the new Social Sciences building at The University of Sheffield. The building is designed with sustainability at its core, from ground source heat pumps to sustainable construction materials. HLMGreenBuild was appointed at RIBA Stage 1 to provide BREEAM and general sustainability services. Throughout the design development stage, we assisted by undertaking Dynamic Simulation Modelling to enhance the design of the passive measures. A particular analysis was carried out on the façade, ensuring internal daylight levels were optimised, while mitigating any risk of over-heating. HLMGreenBuild also provided a BREEAM Pre-Assessment and Lifecycle Analysis (LCA) to ensure the scheme would satisfy BREEAM credit Mat01.
HLMGreenBuild has also helped other projects achieve BREEAM certification at Kings College London and Newcastle-under-Lyme’s Keele University, where the results ranged from higher energy efficiency levels to lower water consumption, reduced material wastage, and environmentally friendly features protecting the local eco-system.
GreenBuild Consult Managing Director Daryl Fisher said: “Through the work of HLMGreenBuild, HLM have aligned with the targets and approach set out by the RIBA in their 2030 Sustainable Outcomes Guide. These key targets are determined by metrics based on sustainability goals, ranging from ecology and waste to transport use and social value. Our goal is for projects designed in our studios to be capable of providing the required data to chart progress by 2025.
“We are proud to be leading the way in this area as more across the industry recognise the opportunity we now have to enact meaningful change and fully embrace the sustainable movement.”
Daryl Fisher is the Managing Director of GreenBuild Consult. He is a BREEAM Accredited Professional and a licensed BREEAM Assessor for all public and private sector assessments with extensive experience of all BREEAM schemes.