Award Winning Architecture in Hampshire
Carbon dioxide represents about 81% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions, so clearly cutting carbon dioxide emissions is a key target.
At Axis Architecture in Hampshire, we know how important it is to design sustainable buildings and use innovative building practices. Both have the potential to address environmental concerns, reduce energy consumption, improve occupant well-being, and contribute to global sustainability goals.
Government Pledge on Greenhouse Gases:
To try and reverse climate change, the UK Government has pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the UK to almost zero by 2050. Find out more HERE.
In 2019 19% of the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions came from residential buildings, and 18% came from businesses. Therefore, architecture and building design have a vital role in helping to reduce the country’s carbon footprint.
Understanding Sustainable Buildings
When considering carbon dioxide emissions, it is not enough to consider the emissions produced while the buildings are in use from such things as gas boilers. It is also essential to consider the emissions created in the production of building materials and components. Furthermore, we need to think about the emissions produced in the building’s demolition and disposal at the end of its useful life.
We need to design buildings that are sustainable throughout their whole life cycle. It is a considerable challenge to achieve zero carbon through a building’s lifecycle, and it is also essential to design out other greenhouse gases and other pollutants.
Many everyday things will have to change radically over the next few years. The current energy market does not help, where, for example, gas is ten times cheaper than electricity per kW. This drives a strong demand for incorporating gas boilers into new housing estates, even today.
Understanding all the factors that go into sustainable design is hugely complicated. However, we have the expertise to help clients understand the issues and make the right choices when designing new buildings or extending and refurbishing existing ones.
How We Help You Achieve Sustainability:
There is a bewildering array of so-called sustainable materials and alternative energy products on the market. These include air, water and ground source heat pumps, photovoltaics, solar collectors, heat recovery systems, wind and water turbines, etc. Some of these products are very good. However, some may appear suitable on the face of it, but drill down, and that may not be the case. They might have a high carbon footprint in the production of component materials, or they may not be recyclable at the end of their service life.
Sorting out the wheat from the chaff when choosing the suitable materials and components is where we come in. We can help save clients’ money in the long term and help reverse climate change.
As a team of architects based in Hampshire, we have undertaken training in sustainability. Because we work every day in the construction industry, that knowledge accumulates. Our accrediting institutions also require us to carry out Continuing Professional Development (CPD) throughout our careers. Sustainability is one of the core modules in this CPD.
Wood & Bricks
Wood is an excellent material to examine when looking at the sustainability of a material. It is 50% carbon which it takes from the air and soil during its lifetime. When timber gets processed into building materials, the carbon becomes locked into its structure for its remaining service life. If, at the design stage, we carefully specify suitable timber for building construction, it can be reused or recycled at the end of the building’s life. So, wood is a good material when considering lowering a building’s carbon footprint and removing carbon from the environment.
On a recent project, our Hampshire-based company installed 300-year-old oak timber frames into a building project salvaged from a demolished cottage.
It is always important to look at the whole picture when considering sustainability issues. Take bricks as a building material. On the face of it, an unsustainable building material. An incredible amount of heat is needed to fire the bricks. They are also traditionally fired with timber or charcoal and, more recently, using gas or electricity.
Now consider their longevity; take Hampton Court Palace, built mostly with brickwork over 500 years ago. Those bricks are still going strong, so perhaps, on balance, a more sustainable product over its useful lifespan.
The Changing Landscape:
It is essential to understand the changing landscape of sustainable products and materials. Traditionally electricity has been produced using coal and gas at a very high carbon cost; however, for the first time, the UK made more electricity in 2020 from renewables such as photovoltaics, wind power, tidal energy and hydro systems than it did from gas and nuclear and this trend is set to increase rapidly in the future.
Whilst electricity is still expensive to heat a home, at least its production is becoming more sustainable. So how do we take advantage of this sustainable heating system? The trick is to design new buildings so they don’t need as much power to heat them by making the external fabric of the building, the roof, walls and ground floor as thermally efficient as possible.
By specifying building materials that are thermally efficient and sustainable with low or zero-carbon credentials, we can go a long way towards making new buildings sustainable. This design procedure is known as the ”passive principle”, and its widespread adoption is beginning to have a beneficial impact. Applying similar principles to extending, altering or refurbishing existing buildings is complex but achievable with the proper understanding and experience.
Talk To Us About Sustainable Buildings:
At Axis Architecture, we have decades of experience designing and specifying sustainable and energy-efficient buildings and navigating the complexities of balancing the initial costs of materials and components against running costs, lifetime costs and against environmental costs and benefits.
The critical fusion of conceptual design and technical detailing has remained at the heart of our Hampshire-based practices philosophy for over thirty years. This ethos translates into safe and sustainable buildings for future generations that are also spectacular to view.
Ready to talk to us about your project? We work with clients both locally, in Hampshire and around the UK.