New London Architecture

Yes, we can build better

Thursday 03 December 2020

DOWNLOAD ZERO CARBON LONDON
VIEW THE SHOWCASE: CASE STUDIES
VIEW THE SHOWCASE: PROJECTS

Marie-Louise Schembri

Design Director
Hilson Moran

It is such a privilege to have been involved in six of the NLA Zero Carbon London showcase projects. What is incredibly exciting about the selection is their diversity. 

On one hand, we have an industrial building conversion into an exciting mix of uses, including residential units that meet the LETI heat demand target, while also being optimised to innovatively manage noise levels and mitigate overheating passively. We then have a completed 1970s Royal Mail building refurbishment that took a leap into the future and won a BCO award for innovation for an environmental and social smart user interface (and another award for recycled workplace!).

1 Broadgate 
Two other projects aimed very high with their sustainability aspiration from the start, and their ambition grew over the course of design, and then again when exposed to a leasing market that’s had a heightened awareness of the environmental challenges we face. One of the two projects went on to becoming one of the most advanced UK-wide Design for Performance Pioneer Projects and the other was the first building in the country to receive a BREEAM NC 2018 Outstanding rating (for both base build and fit-out!). Another showcase project started with no sustainability brief whatsoever, so we walked the client and design team through the possibilities, set the bar very high and it has made its way into this prestigious selection. In addition, we have a Grade I listed residential conversion that made sustainability a real priority and achieved ambitious targets despite the challenges.

The variety of showcase projects goes to show that any building can achieve zero carbon. In the past year, we have witnessed a revolution of will power in the property industry. Every project we work on tries to improve on the last and the momentum is constantly picking up pace. Developers are becoming acutely aware that they are re-fitting, refurbishing and building for a generation that is very different to the last and will continue to be increasingly demanding for environmental (and social) conscientiousness. Businesses and authorities are hastily re-writing their already quite-ambitious sustainability briefs and commissioning Zero Carbon assessments for their own assets and operations.

One Bank Street
The Government’s recent ten point plan for a green industrial revolution is a positive endorsement of this momentum and a show of confidence in an area of rapid intellectual, technical and economic growth. A substantial investment based on the recommendations of the latest Future Energy Scenarios report is a crucial step towards achieving Zero Carbon at a national level by fast-tracking the reduction of emissions from the existing building stock. However, the plan is unfortunately too reliant on existing mechanisms used to regulate carbon emissions from new buildings and refurbishments, citing the Future Homes Standard and EPCs.

We are by now very aware that regulatory energy assessments are not accurate enough to help reduce real operational carbon emissions. For the non-residential sector, specifically leased workspace, this performance gap is now successfully addressed by the new NABER UK scheme, which was launched last month to a very supportive audience of trailblazers. The residential sector is a few giant steps behind, but once again we are investing resources to fill in a glaring void. Hilson Moran, for example, is working to raise awareness about construction and performance flaws of built new homes that widen the performance gap, and we have developed an approach to accurately predict and reduce operational carbon emissions. 

We are on the right track, and we will continue to learn, support, influence and inspire to achieve zero carbon together.

DOWNLOAD ZERO CARBON LONDON
VIEW THE SHOWCASE: CASE STUDIES
VIEW THE SHOWCASE: PROJECTS

Marie-Louise Schembri

Design Director
Hilson Moran


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