SUSTAINABLE DESIGN + SUDS
ACHIEVING BREEAM OUTSTANDING THROUGH SUSTAINABLE DESIGN
The main purpose of sustainable construction is finding sustainable alternatives throughout the building’s life-cycle - that is, from the design phase, going through construction, operation, maintenance and renovation, to the demolition stage.
Using green building methods will allow us to save energy and therefore decrease our energy bills and at the same time becoming more eco-friendly by reducing our CO2 emissions.
The increase in CO2 in the atmosphere is the single biggest cause of global warming, which is leading to climate change.
Therefore, the main purposes of green buildings are:
"to use energy efficiently, to make sure the construction is healthy for the occupants and to reduce waste and pollution through the building process but also over time.
WHAT IS BREEAM?
BREEAM is the Building Research Establishment (BRE) Environmental Assessment Method, first launched in the UK in 1990. The world’s leading sustainability assessment method for buildings.
BREEAM sets best practice standards for the environmental performance of buildings through design, specification, construction and operation, and can be applied to new developments or refurbishment projects.
BREEAM assessments are based on a scoring system with nine criteria:
Energy, Land use and ecology, Water, Health and wellbeing, Pollution, Transport, Materials, Waste, Management
Each of the criteria is scored and then multiplied by a weighting.
There are minimum thresholds that must be achieved.
The resulting overall score is translated into one of the BREEAM ratings;
Outstanding: Less than top 1% of UK new non-domestic buildings (innovator)
Excellent: Top 10% of UK new non-domestic buildings (best practice)
Very Good: Top 25% of UK new non-domestic buildings (advanced good practice)
Good: Top 50% of UK new non-domestic buildings (intermediate good practice)
Pass: Top 75% of UK new non-domestic buildings (standard good practice)
SUSTAINABLE BUILDING MATERIALS
To achieve a green building, we will use natural and recycled (sustainable) building materials, such as:
ROOF CLAD IN ZINC
Zinc is a very environmentally friendly metal for a number of reasons. It is a 100 percent recyclable metal that can be reused over and over again and does not rust when exposed to water, like many other metals do.
Zinc is also a fungistat, which is an agent that prohibits the reproduction of mold, mildew and fungus. This can greatly reduce the risk of moss or even black mold from forming on the exterior of a building in areas that are in contact with the metal.
Interestingly, the rainwater run-off from zinc is clean, unlike the rainwater run-off from other metals such as copper, which is a fungicide.
To produce the insulation boards, waste wood fibres are pulped and mixed with water.
The pulp is heated to activate the natural lignin they contain in order to glue the fibres together. The pulp is then pressed into boards, dried, and cut to size.
The advanced manufacturing process uses the inherent properties of wood fibres to produce boards with many excellent technical qualities for thermal and acoustic insulation, thermal storage capacity, vapour permeability and moisture control.
In other words, its nice and warm and is breathable so will not rot if exposed to water.
TIMBER (WOOD) FRAMED STRUCTURE
The majority of the new centre will be built using a timber frame and clad in a timber called Western Red Cedar. This means all the internal and external walls will be constructed from timber.
Timber is a very strong and natural material and is 100% recyclable. Timber derives from trees which are grown in highly regulated forests throughout Europe. Trees play an essential role in capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere.
As trees grow, they capture CO2 from the atmosphere at a rate of 1 tonne for every m3 of growth, as well as producing 0.7 tonnes of oxygen.
This CO2 is locked away into the wood and continues to be stored for the lifetime of the timber products.
Timber is a fantastic insulator – timber has excellent thermal properties, with low thermal conductivity and high thermal mass. This means that buildings made from sustainable timber are also more efficient to heat and cool, reducing the carbon footprint of a building over its lifetime even further.
The sustainable timber industry is beneficial to the UK economy – it’s estimated that the UK forestry and timber industry provides over 100,000 jobs in the UK, many of which are in rural areas. In 2012 the forestry and timber processing industry contributed £1.7 billion to the UK economy.
The unique properties of timber have allowed us to be creative in design – sustainable timber has a range of properties that alternative materials are unable to replicate. This means that buildings and other structures that make use of sustainable timber can be designed in exciting ways that simply aren’t possible with other materials.
Sustainable timber helps buildings to meet government regulations – the UK government is increasingly making use of legislation to reduce the environmental impact of buildings. The environmental credentials of sustainable timber can help to ensure that projects meet government requirements, future-proof planned projects against future legislation and even give projects a better chance of getting through the planning process.
Note - ALL of the timber used in our new centre will be fire retardant.
RENEWABLE ENERGY RESOURCES
Renewable energy is an energy source that will never run out.
Unlike coal or gas which is sourced from the earth, renewable energy is sourced from the sun, wind, water, geothermal (heat in the ground) and biomass energy.
Our new centre will include for several different forms of renewable energy and using natural gas and mains electricity as back up supplies only.
Below are a select number of energies we will implement:
SOLAR ENERGY COLLECTED FROM SOLAR P.V. PANELS
A photovoltaic system, also known as a Solar PV system, is an energy system that is designed to transform the energy from the sun into electricity by means of photovoltaics, also known as solar panels.
This system is safe, reliable, low-maintenance, and provides green energy without on-site pollution or emissions. Hence, by installing a photovoltaic system, we will contribute to a greener environment, and, what is more, we will inhabit a more sustainable building.
The solar pv panels that will be installed on our roof should generate upto 13.5 KW/h.
Thats 13,500 watts of electricity generated every hour - enough to power 2,700 low energy LED light bulbs.
GEOTHERMAL ENERGY COLLECTED FROM A GROUND SOURCE HEAT PUMP
Also known as a geothermal heat pump, a ground source heat pump can save energy by using the heat from the Earth (geothermal) to increase the efficiency of our centre’s heating and cooling systems. In order to do this, GSHP employs a heat exchanger also called a loop of pipes.
Since the Earth absorbs energy released from the sun, underground temperatures remain constant year round.
In the UK, the temperature of the Earth a few metres below our feet is constant around 11 degrees Celsius.
The purpose of ground source heat pumps is to absorb heat from one place and transport and release it to another location, in this case, our new centre.
Biomass boilers burn material derived from living or recently living organisms such as plants or plant-derived materials.
It can be used directly via combustion to produce the heat, or indirectly, after converting it to various forms of fuel. The largest biomass energy source is wood in the form of logs, pellets or wood chips.
Burning biomass releases most of the energy as heat that can be utilised to heat our centre or generate electricity.
Unlike coal, which can take millions of years to form, biomass is relatively environmentally friendly and sustainable. It can be obtained very quickly by replacing or growing new plants or trees.
Biomass is also known as a carbon neutral form of energy because plants absorb as much carbon dioxide from the air when they grow, as they release during the burning process. It supplies us not only with the energy but also reduces waste we would otherwise need to dispose of.
SUSTAINABLE UNDERGROUND DRAINAGE SYSTEMS
The new centre will be built approximately 500-600 mm above the existing ground level, thus the inside floor level will be out of harms reach from water ingress due to flooding.
Whilst this will help matters, the issue of flooding itself will also be addressed in ways that will benefit us.
By allowing the flood water to be collected in special underground drainage baskets know as SUDS (Sustainable Underground Drainage Systems) we can harvest the flood waters in addition to collecting rainwater.
HOW RAINWATER HARVESTING WORKS
This type of system captures water from both landscaped areas through surface infiltration and from roof areas. After that, it is filtered through a special filtration unit - shown over.
Clean water is retained within the storage area away from sunlight and heat, remaining cool underground and readily available for reuse.
The water can be collected in water tanks of different sizes, by installing the tanks below our land. Water collection is made easier and no space is wasted. This water can later be used for toilets, watering our garden or other applications.
This type of system can capture water from roofs, gardens, lawns, paved areas and driveways increasing the capacity of water retention near our centre. These tanks are also prefiltered, which means the water is kept at optimum conditions promoting aerobic activity within the tank. This prevents stagnation and growth of unhealthy anaerobic bacteria.
PERMEABLE HARD SURFACES
A permeable (or porous) hard surface is a pavement or road surface consisting of materials that allows water to pass freely through the surface, thereby eliminating or reducing runoff compared to impervious paving. Runoff being a major contributing factor towards flooding.
Permeable pavement surfaces typically work allongside a storage media such as stone beneath the permeable surface that provides the structural support of conventional pavement and also provides temporary storage of stormwater.
Permeable pavements, sometimes referred to as pervious, permeable or porous paving/pavement, includes different types of permeable surfaces such as permeable asphalt, permeable concrete, and permeable pavers.
Our car park will be covered in permeable asphalt which will provide the structural support of a conventional road, but will also allow floodwater to drain directly through the surface, into the underlying surface, consisting of stone base and soils, then this will be collected in the rainwater harvesting tanks.
The image to the left shows standard NON permeable asphalt to the left and porous asphalt to the right hand side. The porous asphalt does a superb job of eliminating any risk of flooding by allowing the flood or rainwater to pass freely though its surface into the ground and drains below.