Sustainability in Design

Design is supported by our bespoke Sustainability Toolkit which offers stage-by-stage analysis and support to all of our projects. Organised into three broad categories of Carbon and Energy, People and Ecology the toolkit is used to explore opportunities, track development and drive innovation from inception to post-completion.




Carbon and energy

The UK legislation is set up to tackle carbon emissions and our toolkit responds to this. However, we do take into account energy within this to ensure that a low carbon building is also a low energy building.


Social aspects are vital: buildings contribute to our shared communities on many levels and our toolkit aims to reflect this.



We consider the ecological impact of our decision from the production processes involved in materials to the impact a development has on the local eco-system.




Paying attention to the macro and micro climate of a site is essential to realise opportunities to create comfortable spaces whilst minimising operational energy. To this end, we carefully consider orientation, prevailing wind, planting and materiality to optimise our architectural response and create comfortable internal conditions with minimal servicing energy input.


Through the form and materiality of our architecture and careful integration of servicing systems, we implement a range of innovative techniques aimed at reducing our buildings’ in-use operational energy demand. We work collaboratively with engineers to demonstrate exemplary comfort conditions now and in the future that are cost and energy efficient.


Renewable energy sources are part of our integrated approach to reducing operational energy demand along with the form and materiality of our buildings. We have installed a range of technologies and are currently monitoring the detailed performance of our own office PV and solar thermal collectors.


Many of our projects benefit from an urban location where public transport provision is high, enabling design strategies for lower carbon and alternative forms of transport. When combined with high levels of bicycle storage and changing facilities and integrated car club and accessible bays this approach can offer a highly sustainable transport plan.


Carbon emissions associated with the fabric and components of a building represent many years of equivalent operational energy use. We aim to reduce embodied impacts through re-use of structures, locally sourcing materials and where possible engaging thermally massive elements with internal conditioning strategies. We have developed our own Concrete Calculator to assess the embodied carbon of our proposals.


We aim to minimise construction waste improve the recyclability of our buildings and operational waste management. This is achieved through where possible balancing site cut and fill and reusing structures and materials where possible, careful consideration of materials and a cradle-to-cradle approach to material selection and detailing and designing our buildings and ensuring that provision is made for waste storage and recycling.









Through regular consultation we aim to provide architecture that not only meets our clients’ needs but contributes to whole communities and cities. This can be through new public space, mixed tenures, active frontages, neighbourhood facilities, a commitment to employing local labour and collaborating with local organisations.


Extensive use of natural daylight and a focus on indoor air quality helps us to create environments conducive to happier, healthier and more productive building occupants. We adopt adaptive comfort standards and design solutions where possible, reducing energy consumption and giving building users more control over their environment.


Access arrangements to our buildings aim to go beyond the base requirement of building regulations, taking into account all needs and abilities. We consult with local Police Secured by Design officers and several of our projects have been awarded for our commitment to Lifetime Homes and Building for Life.









Consideration is made of the water cycle through our projects from three points of view: a site wide approach to rain and storm water run-off, detailed appliance and fitting specification and sewerage. We have installed Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems for site run-off attenuation, rainwater harvesting and grey water recycling systems to reduce consumption.


As art of our wider environmental strategy we aim to make materials work harder and perform more than one function (for example engaging structural mass in the conditioning strategy). Many of our projects sourcing heavy weight materials from less than 50 miles away and in addition to this, we specify materials with high recycled content and low toxicity as part of our integrated strategy to indoor environmental quality. Natural materials are specified from sustainable sources.



Much can be done to improve the biodiversity value of our often urban sites. Through the use of brown and green roofs, soft landscaping and on building habitat installations we aim to improve the diversity of all of our sites and connect to existing ecological systems. These strategies have additional benefits of improving local micro climates and attenuating rainwater run-off.