Sustainability

We're passionate about sustainability

Here at Couch Perry Wilkes sustainability is in our DNA. With a team containing world-leading experts in sustainability, we are at the cutting edge of sustainable innovation. Whether it is the latest in PassivHaus techniques or low/zero carbon buildings, we will have an innovative solution to suit the exact requirements of our clients.

Approach

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Driving demand down

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Our approach to sustainability is in the true sense of long term health and wellbeing. All aspects of everyday life and progress require the manipulation and consumption of resources.

Our expertise is in driving down the use of resources by efficient and effective measures whilst improving the built environment and its impact on the wider landscape. To fulfil this we have a demand-driven first approach and offer more than just bolt on renewable technologies to offset waste.

 

Technology Specialists and Research

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Buildings and their environments are living spaces occupied with inhabitants that are unpredictable. Understanding the impact that the very early design process has on the future flexibility of these environments is critical to take advantage of any passive opportunities before it is too late.

We specialise in sustainable approaches by constantly investing in latest technologies and experiences wherever possible. We actively research and monitor completed building performances to help develop future designs optimally.

This requires studying the project site and surroundings, topology, local specific weather files and patterns, sun path and solar analysis, daylight analysis by climate, building sciences and materials.

A fully cooperative and coordinated design team is vital to ensure that all research, calculation and experience is transferred from the desktop, through the design team and to the client for best value for money.

When we are employed in a building services capacity, the client and design team will have full access to our comprehensive database of experience and technological approach for sensitivity analysis, for example assisting architectural design with glazing and shading as well as building fabric, thermal mass, glazing, ideal orientation and many more.

 

Low Carbon Design

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Demand reduction and good design drives down emissions

We understand that the ideal for our clients is a low energy project with the lowest possible emissions. Our experience has taught us that bolting on renewable energy sources to a poorly designed, wasteful building is neither the sustainable nor the ethical answer. That approach adds cost and other burdens and this is why we seek to avoid such a method for our clients.

Commissioning us to deliver building services has a wealth of added value in terms of low carbon design. Not only because we provide an inclusive sustainability team who are available to all of our projects, but also because we are at the forefront of low carbon innovation.

Below is a snapshot of some of our methods including upfront passive analysis:

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Choosing the correct site has many advantages in terms of access, utilities’ infrastructure, ground levels and general location benefits to the users. However the site can also be analysed for other sustainable opportunities. For example what are the local weather pattern and local climate like? Wind analysis and solar benefits of all sites differ. What shading is available on the site to prevent or assist in getting the most out of naturally available solar radiation for daylight and sunlight for winter heating?

Orientation of proposed structures

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A major opportunity to reduce heating demands within buildings and also to reduce the use of artificial electric lighting is to take full advantage of the sun as a light and heat energy source.

We analyse the ideal orientation for the building by looking at the main heating and cooling seasons and iterative testing to compare heat loss with heat gain. This allows us to calculate the ideal orientation resulting in lower energy and low carbon design.

 

Building Fabric

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Heat energy is lost by various means from buildings, and to ensure a stable environment, this heat must be replaced. Clearly losing as little as possible is the sustainable approach as there is less to replace.

We analyse the building fabric and characteristics at various points of a project to balance insulation values, thermal conductivity, air permeability, thermal bridging and connection details.

We also simulate the benefits of thermal mass within the building’s structure which could make use of the flywheel effect and reduce the oscillation between heating and cooling needs for each space.

Passive Low Carbon Technologies: PassivHaus Certified

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Various renewable and passive technologies exist. Some of these are more appropriate for the site location and conditions than others.

We also adopt techniques from the PassivHaus system of building design. This focuses on extremely low energy demands and our certified PassivHaus designers, as part of our sustainability team, will apply techniques as appropriate.

As the image above shows, we may well consider an underground labyrinth for your project whereby outside air is first taken through ground ducting to heat it up in winter (cool it in summer) which then provides fresh air to the building. This saves an amount of heating demand (or cooling) which in turn saves energy and thus results in lower emissions.

Those are just a very few of the sustainable analysis approaches we take to ensure your EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) is presented with the rating that you require.

Human Interaction

Within our low carbon specialism we understand and design for human interface. Clearly people will inherit the effects of any services and technologies and therefore it is vital that controls are as simple as possible for users to operate. If controls are too complex then users will bypass the control in the future and the energy saving measures will be wasted. To avoid this requires clever design with the design team and the client team to understand any systems deployed. We perform post occupancy reviews and soft landing approaches with our systems.

BREEAM Assessment and Advice

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Engineering Assessors – assessing and delivering world class environments

BREEAM is a world-class environmental assessment method which allocates ratings to your building depending on the design and constructed characteristics as well as the impact on the wider society and environment.

Since 1990 over 250,000 buildings have been certified and over 1,000,000 buildings have been registered.

BREEAM encourages designers to naturally design with sustainability in mind at all times and this has brought a key advantage in having our combined BREEAM and sustainability specialists.

We have several BREEAM assessors who are also Accredited Professional (AP) standard providing unbiased assessment of all types of project. The assessors are naturally infused with CPW engineering philosophies which means that you do not just get an administrator but mainly benefit from an understanding assessor who will fit seamlessly into your design team.

Whilst the whole design and client team are responsible for achieving the final BREEAM score, our assessors will input with their experience as early as possible and continually in order to achieve as sustainable a building and environment as possible.

We have assessed all ratings for buildings