Making buildings to consume fewer resources and result in lower carbon outputs involves proactive decision making at strategic, detailed, and operational levels.
We are considering how to intensify the use of sites to maximise use of existing buildings and infrastructure, specifying lower embodied carbon materials, reducing energy use, water consumption and carbon emissions in use, designing for improved biodiversity, long life, flexibility, easy maintenance, and efficient reuse of components at the end of building life.
Upgrading existing buildings for extended and more intensive use is a more carbon-efficient alternative to demolition and replacement. Whenever it is viable, we encourage and facilitate the creative re-use of existing buildings. FCBStudios’ expertise in historic building conservation, alongside our research and knowledge of sustainable design, enables us to advocate practical re-uses that enhance historical character and social and economic capital.
A growing awareness of the implications of material impacts is influencing our strategic design to help reduce overall resource consumption and emissions. We are working with engineers to better understand the embodied carbon impacts of specification, ongoing maintenance and end of life use. We are investigating the material and aesthetic changes which result from the necessary reduction in consumption of natural resources and our better understanding of carbon impacts and waste.
Our design work is incorporating lessons learnt from detailed post-occupancy evaluations on projects such as the National Trust Headquarters
, The Woodland Trust
and The Hive Library
in Worcester, where performance in use has improved often over and above design targets through careful operational use.