At FRITH:BLAKE Consulting we take sustainability seriously. We differ from the majority of sustainability consultants in that we think creatively to ensure that the solutions we offer are appropriate to the Client's brief and the project. In our experience, the thoughtful specification of environmentally responsible materials along with the innovative use of traditional materials provides the best chance of a meaningful sustainability strategy being retained through to the construction stage.
We believe that sustainability does not have to start with straw bales and lime mortar (although it can do). At the heart of our sustainability strategy is efficient design using less materials or using conventional (or locally available) materials in an innovative way to lessen the environmental impact. This approach enables us to often deliver a strategy with minimal cost impact to the project.
Understanding the key drivers behind the Clients desire to lessen the environmental impact of a project is essential to developing an appropriate strategy. We often present our findings in the form of a Sustainability Appraisal report that covers all or some of the topics below:
REUSE AND RECYCLING APPRAISAL: The reuse, conversion or refurbishment of existing buildings can often present a more sustainable and economically viable solution for a Client. In our appraisal we consider the age, condition and adaptability of existing buildings and advise Clients on the suitability for reuse. If we conclude that demolition is appropriate, we consider the options for reusing and recycling materials from the demolition into the new build project. This could feed into your Material Management Plan (MMP).
MATERIAL MANAGEMENT PLAN: We work alongside our specialist consultants to prepare an appropriate MMP to satisfy the requirements of the Local Authority and the Environment Agency.
OFFSITE CONSTRUCTION APPRAISAL: Offsite construction can reduce construction waste, improve air tightness and reduce transport movement. These factors can result in significant environmental benefits. We consider the construction of each project and whether there are environmental, cost and programme benefits in considering offsite fabrication for structural elements.
DESIGNING FOR DECONSTRUCTION: The recycling of materials only partially addresses the issue of construction waste. Designing for Deconstruction is the thoughtful design and construction of the building fabric that allows simple re-use of building elements at the end of the building's useful life.
SUSTAINABLE MATERIAL APPRAISAL: We always consider the environmental benefits of different materials for each project. This includes the innovative use of conventional products or the use of emerging new materials. In particular, the appraisal considers the benefits of using local materials and the potentially significant reduction in environmental impact associated with transportation.
RENEWABLE ENERGY APPRAISALS: We can undertake Sustainable Design and Renewable Energy Appraisals that are frequently requested by the Local Planning Authority to support planning applications and demonstrate compliance with Policy. We utilise historic data to estimate energy demand and consider numerous viable but flexible options for the delivery of energy efficiency and renewable energy.
Image References; Bottom; Easton College Jubilee 3, photo courtesy of Easton College - work undertaken by Jon at Bidwells. For more information on Bidwells projects go to www.bidwells.co.uk.