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Sustainable Low Energy Social Housing

WINNER of the RIBA South West Award for Sustainability 2018.

Greengauge worked with Emmett Russell on Bristol City Council’s social housing framework for infill developments of flats and bungalows. We helped to deliver some of the first new council-owned social housing in Bristol for 20 years.

We advised the client from the planning stage and developed a site-wide environmental brief.  Initially the client was working towards a Level 4 Sustainable build (C4SH) but Greengauge felt a  Fabric- First approach would be more appropriate for the site, would benefit the client and offer better value for money for residents.

The confined space of the three small sites was a challenge. To deliver an economical construction, both in terms of buildability and cost the team wanted to achieve repeatable designs/blocks. With perseverance a neat repeatable block was achieved. The modular construction kept our Mechanical and Engineering strategy simple and uncomplicated.

To deliver good control over air tightness with the potential for early testing it was felt that a timber construction would prove best, however the BCC team has little experience in timber and it took the design team time and research to ensure that a robust construction could be created, which was maintainable.

The PHPP modelling identified that the domestic hot water demand was going to be a significant part of the tenants’ energy consumption and therefore it was felt that the renewable solution should look to offset this. We designed a central boiler point for the flats. Solar thermals provide renewable energy and deliver both heat and hot water, therefore maximizing the use of the harnessed energy.  The three bungalows have simple gas combi boilers with a PV array.  Each house has a high efficiency MVHR ventilation unit ducted throughout the dwelling.  The energy strategy we put in place for this development delivers the required 20% reduction in CO2 emissions from renewables.

Greengage undertook the M&E design with mechanical ventilation heat recovery; Passivhaus consultancy and energy strategy; on-site thermal performance support; psi-value calculations and moisture risk analysis.


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