Sustainability and building performance is an integral part of good architecture and Allford Hall Monaghan Morris works hard to make the best use of the opportunities presented by each project.
AHMM recognises that the construction industry generally, and the architectural profession in particular, is in a key position to reduce global CO2 emissions. AHMM considers reduction, mitigation and adaptation to be important to help avoid the unmanageable and manage the unavoidable in the climate and biodiversity emergency.
AHMM actively addresses the intertwined social, environmental and economic aspects of architecture in a focused and effective manner, promoting an intelligent and integrated approach to the way buildings are designed, developed and enjoyed. AHMM’s Building Performance Team supports our architects and wider design teams through strategic reviews of environmental opportunities, energy and comfort modelling, life cycle analysis, knowledge sharing, and lessons learned derived from our research, analysis and Post Occupancy Evaluation programme.
AHMM’s in-house Building Performance Team is an integral part of our architectural process, and is formed of architects and engineers with expertise in environmental and structural engineering, energy use in the built environment, iterative operational strategy development and software development.
The team supports our designers with technical expertise and performance modelling using industry leading software and bespoke parametric tools. They test ideas and prove concepts, helping to develop integrated designs that optimise building performance and our clients’ investment.
Considering building performance at the very early stages of our design process enables us to enter conversations with our clients and design team collaborators with clear performance aspirations.
Tracking these through our design and delivery programme helps generate integrated architecture that works across a range of performance metrics from energy to indoor environmental quality.
Using an in-house ‘Sustainability Toolkit’, AHMM aims to design buildings that are best prepared for future changes whilst considering the impacts from and opportunities in the manufacture of components, the construction and assembly process and building operation, re-use and beyond.
The Toolkit is a design workshop and performance matrix. We think about capital expenditure, running costs, the human experience of using and making our buildings, operational energy and embodied carbon and wider environmental and ecological impacts.
These parameters set in a formal framework for identifying opportunities, understanding constraints, developing strategies and setting targets. Performance is modelled, tested, tracked and refined over the design process and reviewed at key milestones: Strategy Development, Integrated Design, Technical Documentation, Construction and In-Use.
Aspirations are represented using a graphically simple ‘rose’ diagram with a four-point traffic light system and outputs are compared to the RIBA 2030 benchmarks.
Allford Hall Monaghan Morris joined fellow RIBA Stirling Prize winning practices in signing an open letter calling for architects and the wider construction industry to take collective action to address the climate and biodiversity emergency. You can read the letter here.
Our research activities range through project specific performance investigations, the collaborative development of bespoke software applications, assessing the performance of occupied buildings, collaborations with industry and academia, and independently funded collaborative research projects.
We are currently working on many projects, notably a Knowledge Transfer Partnership project with UCL’s Bartlett School of Environment, Energy and Resources. The project is match-funded by AHMM and Innovate UK and will use AHMM’s real world, large scale complex projects with existing ambitious sustainability targets, commercial ambitions and compliance needs as the basis for a comparative study to develop design solutions, management strategies and adaptation plans to meet net-zero carbon targets. More information on this project can be found here.
Our R&D supports pragmatic project deliver, the paths of investigation coming from our architectural ambitions and responding to our project and professional needs.
We try to publish our outputs when we can and have presented our work at various conferences and published our outputs in academic and industry journals.
Mindful of the ‘performance gap’ AHMM works hard to understand how completed buildings operate by carrying out Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE) where possible to assess everything from energy consumption to occupant well-being and productivity. AHMM aims to collect some performance information from every finished building.
We use a flexible approach to our reviews including building walks, occupant satisfaction survey and detailed long-term environmental monitoring. We review the performance of complete and occupied buildings against our strategic and specific aspirations.
Findings are reported back to clients, project teams, building occupants and AHMM designers to inform decision making and refine the design, construction and operation of buildings.
Outputs of our POE process have been included in industry guidance publications and shared in journal publications.
Our sustainability agenda also applies to our own operations. AHMM monitors a range of metrics including our operational energy use, supply chains, resource use and waste production. We carry out regular internal audits to identify opportunities for improvement and benchmark our performance.
As a large organisation we are required to report our energy use under the Energy Saving Opportunity Scheme (ESOS). We use this obligation to interrogate our operational energy use intensity and upgrade our management strategies where we can.
In parallel, internal environmental monitoring helps ensure productive and healthy spaces for our designers while we minimise energy and resource use.
The lessons learned from managing and improving our own office space are shared and used to inform our design work.
AHMM has been ISO 14001 certified since 2009. We have recently upgraded our environmental and quality management systems to meet 2015 ISO standards, and have taken the opportunity to switch our certification to the British Standards Institution (BSI). We believe this change will improve the rigour of our auditing processes and help us to continually improve our environmental systems.