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5 examples of sustainable construction

July 7, 2021

Sustainability and building compliance expert. Specialising in low energy design, SAP, SBEM, BREEAM, and air testing for the construction industry,

Andrew Sadler



Sustainability in construction is at a really exciting point; with improvements in technology and an increased focus on delivering buildings that are carbon neutral, steps are finally being taken to inspire the next generation of construction. 

Sustainable construction is the practice of building developments using renewable and recyclable materials which helps to reduce carbon emissions, energy consumption and waste. The goal of sustainable construction is to reduce the hefty industry’s impact on the environment. 

So, what has the construction industry done so far in terms of Sustainable Construction? Here are some of our favourite examples of sustainable construction at its best and what we all aspire to build in the near future.

The principles of sustainable construction 

Sustainable construction is described as the construction of a building having minimal impact on the environment. Sustainable construction includes both structure and the processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout the building development. 

From design, construction, maintenance, renovation and demolition, all areas of construction have been considered for sustainable construction and how we can have a minimal impact on the environment. For example, principles such as:

These are all areas we need to consider to make sure our developments are as sustainable as possible and kind to our precious planet.

PassivHaus: Sustainable construction by Design 

The PassivHaus standard is the heart of all energy and sustainability consultants: it truly is the real deal. It combines quality, energy efficiency and comfort and is the ultimate aspiration for those working in design and construction. PassivHaus buildings provide a high level of comfort while using very little energy for heating and cooling; however, it isn’t easy to attain. It’s a German approach developed by the Passivhaus institute and can only be certified through a rigorous quality assurance process.

There are many benefits to Passivhaus such as:

Sounds great, right? For more information on how to use Passivhaus in your next development, check out our previous blog on the 5 fundamentals principles of Passive House.

One Angel Square: Outstanding Energy Efficient Design

One Angel Square is known for its outstanding energy efficient design and is pretty impressive. One Angel Square is the headquarters of the Co-operative group. It was awarded an “Outstanding” building research establishment environmental assessment methodology (BREEAM) rating and also A+ energy performance certificate. This is due to its magnitude of energy saving features, all of which have led to an amazing 80% reduction in carbon emissions and a 50% reduction in energy consumption.

The strong building is powered by pure plant oil and rapeseed oil from their own farmland and also has LED lighting and a recycling system for waste and rainwater. They also use 300,000ft2 of exposed concrete which helps to provide a thermal sponge, absorbing heat and minimising energy needed to cool down the building. The dream building for sustainable construction and what every development should aspire to!

The Edge: Outstanding BREEAM Scale

The Edge is based in Amsterdam and is Deloitte’s 15 storey headquarters. It has been called the most sustainable office block in the world. A hefty title, right?

So, what makes it the most sustainable block? It scored an incredible 98.3 out of 200 on the BREEAM scale which was the highest score ever recorded on an office block at the time. From the outside, it looks like a giant glasshouse and it works to significantly reduce the energy consumption needed for lighting.

You’ll find a huge mix of energy saving technologies, such as passive temperature control and an energy efficient design. The south face is covered entirely with solar panels and a thermal energy storage system underground regulates the heating and cooling of the building when the passive temperature control needs a boost. 

Energy-Efficient conservatories 

There’s no doubt in our mind that conservatories make beautiful home extensions, but for them to add value to your home, you need to make sure they are as energy efficient as possible. An eco-friendly conservatory will improve your way of living, offering a comfortable space during the winter and summer months.

When considering building an energy-efficient conservatory, materials need to be considered in advance. The design is important also and will effectively determine how efficient the conservatory will be.

There are a few different things we can implement into your conservatory such as:

Long Term Roof

Most conservatory roofs can be made more energy efficient with new materials, such as crystal-clear glass roof, lantern roof or tiled conservatory roof replacement.

Specialist Windows and Doors

Did you know single glazing loses heat around twice as fast as standard double glazing? Replacing your windows with either double glazing or triple glazing will increase your energy efficiency. It’s important to remember that windows must have a minimum energy rating of Band C to comply with Building Regulations.

Interested in finding out more about BuildPass’s work with conservatories? Check out our case study!

Eco-Friendly Zero-Bills House 

There are a variety of eco-friendly builds across the UK, but this one really took our breath away! The £1.5 million home Zero-Bills House is based in Kent. It was designed to create zero utility bills – You heard that right… NO BILLS! With many properties in Germany having zero utility bills, couple David and Monika discovered that they are really limited in the UK and set themselves the challenge to create one of the few Zero-Bills Houses in the UK.

The house was repositioned 5m deeper into the designated plot and was closer to the road. It also uses insulation, solar panels, triple-glazed windows and a home energy storage system. 

Achieving Sustainable Construction

And that’s sustainable construction in a nutshell! Are you now inspired to create a sustainable dwelling of your own? There’s endless possibilities for sustainable construction and here at Buildpass, we work with incredible people that can help you create your next masterpiece. Give us a call today.

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