Building Sustainably

 

Creating places that belong, places that people respond to, places that people want to keep, is a big part of designing and building sustainably. A truly sustainable architecture is one that endures time and fashion whilst 'touching the earth lightly'.
We approach sustainable design holistically at the start of the design process rather than relying on bolt-on solutions. In this way, we achieve a highly sustainable and elegant result without having to compromise the beauty of the design or rely on less attractive, bolt-on solutions that can be expensive, have a high refurbishment costs and may or may not be easy to operate efficiently. CaSA is guided by best practice sustainable design principles, your own priorities for sustainability, and regulatory frameworks to deliver buildings that are warm, well-ventilated, flooded with natural light and incredibly efficient to run.

A key part of our sustainability strategy is our commitment to a 'fabric first' approach, illustrated in the diagram below. This is informed by the 'energy hierarchy', which means as a starting point we maximise the performance of the building envelope to create inherently energy efficient buildings. Then, depending on your sustainability priorities and regulatory frameworks, we then consider efficient operating systems, and finally renewable technologies. This approach means that you aren't forced to rely heavily on energy saving technology, or renewable energy generation to make your home sustainable and energy efficient. Such an 'intelligent' design approach takes into account the benefits of thermal mass; super-high insulation; solar gain; natural ventilation; air tightness; and energy gained from the actual contents of the building - people and appliances. We follow a similar hierarchy to guide our strategy for materials, water, and waste, always reducing resource use as a starting point.

 

On every project we aim to:

  • conserve energy and minimise the use of fossil fuels
  • respond to the local environment and climate
  • use low-carbon energy sources
  • minimise carbon emissions and local pollution
  • conserve natural resources and promote reuse and recycling
  • maximise flexibility and adaptability for future needs and climate change
  • maintain and create environments that are healthy and life enhancing
  • preserve biodiversity

Our approach to energy, materials, water, waste, biodiversity, transport, adapting to climate change, and health and wellbeing is summarised below.

Sustainability Section Carisbrooke colour final-WIDE+.jpg
  • Energy
  • Energy

    Our energy strategy follows the energy hierarchy for a 'fabric first' approach. We design a high performance building envelope that is super insulated, detailed for airtightness, planned to maximise natural ventilation and daylight, and oriented optimally for solar gain. Our next step is smart system design including metering, user controls, heat recovery and mechanical ventilation, and highly efficient systems. We finally consider the specification of low carbon and renewable technologies.

    A number of renewable and energy conserving technologies will be in use at The Lighthouse, together with its ambition of Passivhaus standard construction.

  • Materials
  • Materials

    Our material selection strategy involves as a starting point considering the specification of materials that are locally and responsibly sourced, low carbon and embodied water, non-toxic, renewable, and recycled/reused. We consider it crucial that materials are durable, low-maintenance (i.e self-finished materials), and buildings are designed in a way that allows for future disassembly/recycling (‘designed for disassembly) at the end of their life and allows for flexibility to enable future adaptation in response to the changing needs of the client and climate change.

    See Laurel House, where a subtle use of material has been used in a traditional setting to re-imagine a contemporary home.

  • Water
  • Water

    Water: Our water strategy follows the water hierarchy, which as a starting point concentrates on reduction of water use through water efficient fixtures and fittings. Attention is then paid to efficient distribution (reducing leakage), and then alternative sources are considered such as rainwater harvesting. Finally, we look at grey water recycling and attenuating run-off through SuDS (infiltration trenches, swales, drought tolerant native species).

    Have a look at Junction Road, where a rainwater harvesting system feeds the toilets, washing machine and garden tap, conserving water use within the home and reducing water bills.

  • Waste
  • Waste

    Our waste strategy follows the waste hierarchy to first consider minimisation of waste, for example pre-fabrication can greatly reduce construction waste. We then explore the option of using reclaimed and recycled materials, and at the final stage recommend responsible waste disposal.

    A pre-fabricated timber frame was used in the construction of Carisbrooke. The timber frame panels were made to measure in the factory and assembled on site within hours, significantly reducing the amount of on-site waste material.

  • Biodiversity & Greening
  • Biodiversity & Greening

    We aim to create high quality amenity space that enhances biodiversity and habitat and reduces the urban heat island effect through tree planting, green roofs and soft landscaping.

    A new house within listed landscape, The Lighthouse required a thoroughly researched landscaping strategy, responding to two historic oak trees and preserving the local ecology throughout the build.

  • Transport
  • Transport

    Transport: We support the modal shift from private car travel to sustainable travel through provision of cycle storage and facilities, improving the public realm to encourage walking, constraining car parking levels, and promoting site selection based on accessibility of public transport.

    See Crewkerne Active Lifestyle Centre for how this looks in practice.

  • Adapting to Climate Change
  • Adapting to Climate Change

    Our design approach addresses the impacts of future climate change through solar shading to avoid overheating from increased temperatures and solar exposure, following the water hierarchy to respond to lower rainfall levels, and developing SuDS strategies to mitigate increased rainfall.

    Through a rigorous design method at Priors Dean, the building is able to respond to the present and future environmental conditions of the site.

  • Health & Wellbeing
  • Health & Wellbeing

    We are guided by best practice principles in the design of buildings to maximises the health and wellbeing of building occupants. We aim to enhance air quality (through natural ventilation and MHRV), lighting (natural daylighting, lighting design, glare avoidance), thermal comfort (solar gain, insulation), views and biophilia (orientation, form, landscaping), acoustics (insulation, separation, absorption), interior layout (legibility/density/sociability), look and feel (colour treatment, texture, pattern and ergonomics), and Active Design (pedestrian friendly environment and internal layout that promotes physical activity).

    Take a look at The Lantern Workshops to see how this looks in practice. The feel of community is enhanced and opportunities for casual meeting created through the provision of a social hub (kitchen/tearoom) and covered entrances and alcoves.