Sustainability - St. Catherine's College Phase II


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As a practice, Hodder+Partners aim to design sustainable buildings that minimise energy requirements whilst providing functional, comfortable and invigorating spaces, which reduce the carbon footprint of the project. Through the careful specification of materials & plant we aim to create a design which will attain a balance of environmental, economic and social performance.

For a building to be truly sustainable it must be economically and functionally successful as well as achieving the goals of low environmental impact and low energy use. This also requires the design and the installed services to be capable of change over the long-term life of the building.

Our design process is primarily based on a strong commitment to sustainability using passive means, that is, by firstly considering building form and how it can influence and modify the environment within. There is little point in investing in renewables if we have not minimised the energy use of the new and existing buildings and installed plant in the first place.

As pragmatists we know our clients need to balance high aspirations with economic realities. In the field of sustainable design and carbon neutral buildings this means that we are developing strategies for buildings that can enhance their environmental performance over their lifetime. The details of this approach can include, for example, detailing of roofs/facades to allow the future installation of PV panels when such approaches are more developed and economically more advantageous.

We appreciate that investment in good building design and fabric specification often has a better life advantage when compared with high technology mechanical and electrical systems. However we look to develop designs in conjunction with Environmental engineers to ensure that the building form and specifications maximise the potential for passive environmental control and high efficiency plant/systems in order to minimise the operating costs of the development.

Sustainability, if it is to be successful, cannot be bolted onto a project at a later date. It should be treated as a key factor influencing the entire initiative, calling for an integrated approach to the project from the entire team. The impact of decisions on the outcome of a project rapidly diminish as the project develops. We therefore ensure that a sustainable agenda is introduced at the inception stage of the project to achieve as much influence as possible. Throughout the process we look to focus on 3 key areas to ensure the sustainable is agenda is met:

Making sustainability part of the whole design and construction process will minimise the environmental impact of a project, balance the impact of economic benefits for the end user and unite the design team in a common purpose. Strong sustainable concepts must be explored at the outset of individual projects. These will be developed through the feasibility and design process ensuring innovative and affordable solutions are established.

Each area of the sustainable agenda will be realised by producing a sustainable design brief. The brief will provide a summary of the typical environmental, social and economic performance criteria that should be considered at every stage of a project. Reviewing the project against the brief will track relevant issues and audit the scheme to ensure it meets required assessment criteria with minimal financial effect.

When a project is complete it is our intention to measure building performance and improved employee well being by undertaking a post-occupation evaluation study. The results from this will provide in-depth analysis to allow further improvement.