Environmental assessments for a mixed use scheme
What was your role?
We were appointed by Workspace for Energy, Sustainability, BREEAM and Waste Management consultancy services in support of the planning application for this large mixed-use scheme in Stratford. We worked with the project team for 9 months and sought to contribute actively to the design development.
Did you base your energy advice on benchmarks or did you model a sample of apartments?
We only used benchmarks at the very beginning to give an early indication of the energy breakdown and which design decisions were the most important ones. At the earliest opportunity we started modelling a very large sample of apartments, which helped to ensure that the conclusions were representative and to reduce the risk of over-simplification pre-planning. In this case we modelled more than 30 apartments and we did three iterations for all 30 of them to regularly capture changes and inform the design. We really enjoyed working closely with the Architect and the MEP engineer and enabling the client to make informed decisions on ventilation, window selection, etc.
How did you assess the risk of overheating?
As with most new residential developments, overheating was a significant concern and we tried to ensure that the decisions taken before planning would not lead to problems which would be difficult to resolve later on. Although we started with the SAP overheating test as it is mandatory for Building Regulations, we also used a dynamic simulation modelling software. Again we tried to collaborate with the Architect and the MEP engineer to make sure that assumptions and recommendations were all correct and understood, particularly in terms of glazing specifications, shading and ventilation.
How do you generally communicate the results of your analysis?
Well we really enjoy meeting other project team members actually! We never say ‘no’ when there is an opportunity to meet and discuss face to face. And we do our best to present our work in a graphical and clear way: it often helps people to interrogate what we have done and facilitates the discussion.
What do you enjoy particularly in the Sustainability work pre-planning?
I think that finding the balance between the client’s aspirations, environmental sustainability ambitions, the associated planning policy requirements, the specific nature of the proposals (including financial constraints) and the ability to deliver the commitments practically is very interesting.
Planning consultant: Bilfinger GVA
Architect: Squire and Partners
MEP: Furness Green
Structural engineers: Furness Patnership