It's Earth Day today
It’s Earth Day 2021 and we invited Jim Hayles, Senior Associate and in-house Passivhaus Certified Designer to reflect on Sustainable Design within Architecture and within our Quattro practice.
Sustainable Design has created a divergence within the construction industry. It has become increasingly evident that this split is between those reacting to the climate crisis and those waiting for legislation to force improvement in the environmental impact of buildings. This divergence has been fuelled by Government delays in implementing legislation whilst climate scientists become increasingly alarmed at the scale of the Climate emergency and the need to decarbonise.
We hope that the UK Government’s announcement this week on carbon reduction targets will be followed by the swift deployment of new Legislation which can enable the construction industry to unify around a shared goal.
We are committed to enabling & encouraging swift action
As signatories of the RIBA climate emergency declaration, Quattro is committed to enabling and encouraging swift action. In 1984 at inception, we were delivering Sustainable Design. We were ahead of the game. Today, more than ever, Architectural Sustainability lies at the core of our thinking. Working with like-minded organisations across the industry we feel well placed to take on the challenge of improving the performance of new buildings and our current building stock.
We have in-house Passivhaus Certified consultants
As environmental standards improve, ensuring designers have the right knowledge and skills becomes increasingly important. Quattro’s team of Passivhaus Certified Consultants has grown over the last 6 years and includes Director Mike Court, ensuring we can achieve design consistency and excellence across the practice.
Whilst achieving the Passivhaus Standard can be considered best practice, the training and methodology behind this internationally recognised standard provides invaluable in-depth knowledge that applies to all build design and is why we have invested in this training.
Design tools that can provide early quantitative information on design decisions are becoming more critical – luckily, like remote working IT solutions, they are also becoming increasingly viable for all projects.
Passivhaus Design & PHPP
The Passivhaus Design uses PHPP as the key design Tool that enables the energy use of buildings to be predicted to a very accurate level. As an iterative and user-friendly design tool it is much more than just a compliance checking tool.
As with newbuilds there is a passivhaus standard called Enerphit that can be adopted and this can be used to certify deep retrofit projects which will meet the carbon reduction requirements needed by 2030. Again, where capital costs are too constrained to meet the standard but where clients are still keen to make significant improvements, such as Quattro’s award-winning retrofit refurbishment of Shirehall, then PHPP modelling can still be used to make the best decisions early in the design process.
The PHPP design tool has recently been developed further by the AECB to include embodied carbon assessments. Although not currently legislated around, the embodied carbon design metric is becoming as important as energy efficiency in the race to decarbonise the construction industry and we are in the process of exploring how we can provide simple embodied assessments for all our projects.