Environmental Design Policy
In our work we look for healthy, and environmentally sound solutions to building design and materials specification.Our internal office policies also reflect these concerns.
We look towards designing solutions for communities conducive to supporting issues of ecology, sustainability and quality of physical environment.This would include consideration of provision for relevant local services and the integration of rural work, living and recreation needs.We aim to achieve a minimum of Building Standards - Sustainability Silver / Code for Sustainable Homes 4 or equivalent for our projects
Having an effect on the depletion of fossil fuels, globally leading to global warming through CO2 emissions, and pollution of the environment from emissions;
- Orientation – considered in order to maximise passive solar gain and minimise heat loss from north facing elevations. Protection from wind accelerated heat loss considered in terms of planting of shelter-belts where appropriate.
- Insulation levels – High levels of insulation are specified for both refurbishment and new-build, over building standards requirements.We aim to work to super insulation standards and air infiltration levels, within the cost limits set by the Client.
- Heating – and Affordable Warmth. High efficiency systems are prioritised, designed for comfort and sized with regard to the insulation levels.We aim to make warmth an affordable expense for all.
- Energy saving measures – Services and fittings are specified which have high efficiency eg. Condensing boilers, and low energy consumption white goods where specified. Heat loss further reduced by designing lobbies to main entrances, and draught-proofing to all doors and windows.
- Glazing – high performance double glazed windows with low-emissivity inner leaf specified as standard. Dependant on location and Client requirements, argon filled and / or triple glazed may be specified.
- Lighting – Low impact low-energy fittings are specified in place of standard fittings, fluorescent tubes used elsewhere. Switching circuits are designed to enable better switching combinations, ( for example, allowing lights closer to windows to be used much less frequently than those away from natural light.)
- Daylight use encouraged with the installation wherever possible of light maximising facilities such as sun domes.
- Ventilation and air - Natural ventilation, is used where possible.This includes designing for Passive Stack ventilation at early stages to ensure suitable building configuration. Minimum use of mechanical extract or air conditioning.
- Embodied energy – consideration given to energy requirements for the production and transportation of materials and products.This includes mining, smelting, recycling, and factory production.Wherever possible local products and materials will be considered over those transported over long distances.
- Travel – We aim to create a sustainable environment where pedestrian, cycle and public transport priority supersede the need for private cars, where air pollution ground contamination, energy use, water recycling and waste disposal are taken into consideration.
Natural Resources and Pollution
Having an effect on depletion of native forests and of finite resources, and on the health of producers and users. (see above regarding fossil fuels).
We pay particular attention to issues concerning use of resources.We see our commitment to historic buildings as part of our policy of sustainability, wherever possible renewing building resources and recycling materials. We aim to make the fullest use of buildings to maintain and sustain resources.
- Natural habitats – site surveys are carried out to ascertain the existing features to be retained, and the building form will take consideration of these issues.Together with our landscape consultants, proposals may be made to re-instate lost species from the particular locality.
- Timber – We specify FSC, Forest Stewardship Council, endorsed timbers for general softwood carcassing, as well as native alternatives to tropical hardwoods.This is the most certain system currently available to us, to ensure that all timber is supplied form well managed forests.
- Furniture and equipment – where possible, will be chosen to be manufactured form natural materials from sustainable sources.
- Non-toxic timber treatments, organic paints and stains are used if possible as finishes and treatments for structural and finishing timbers.A physical rather than chemical approach is taken to remedies for rot and infestation.We work with specialist consultants in this field.
- Non-formaldehyde materials are specified as standard. ie. No MDF or other formaldehyde containing materials, which emit toxic gases into the environment on an on-going basis.This also helps to create a safer working environment for operatives exposed to the harmful fine particles of cut MDF.The use of any materials that have been tested on animals are widely discouraged.
- Water use – and Affordable water; we aim to conserve water through the specification of water saving fittings and water butts where appropriate.
Enhancement of Wellbeing
For building occupiers on completion, through healthy on-site working environment for operatives, and bearing in mind the working conditions in the place of production of materials. This covers paints, use of medium density fibreboards, use of timber treatments including for insect and damp treatment. Manufacture of PVC. Natural ventilation. Natural breathing materials, in respect particularly to conservation work; Lime mortars and renders.
Staff’s attention is drawn especially to the above relevant issues.