'In recent times the need for a sustainable approach to building procurement has been widely recognised and is increasingly commercially attractive due to incentives, a larger market and increased energy prices.' - Teather + Walls Architects
The current 'Energy Crisis' was predicted with some accuracy over 50 years ago and the interest of the two directors of Teather + Walls Architects was first registered in 1973 when Andrew Teather selected a post graduate thesis focussed on a technical and design exploration of off site construction techniques, low carbon design and renewable energy - see below. In practice there were few commercially viable opportunities to put theory into practice until recent years, but due to the impact of climate change on governments' thinking around the world, energy companies pricing levels and deteriorating comfort levels in buildings, we,,, we are now in a period of the rapid evolution of building design and a redefinition of what constitutes good design.
We believe that as the Romans evolved techniques for heating and cooling which were generally accepted for all their developments for a 300 year period, as the Georgians evolved tall rooms, deep sash windows and internal shutters which became the accepted design and building technqiue for those who could afford it for over 100 years (and which still provide some of the most comfortable buildings of today) , so the industry is evolving techniques today which will be with us for many years to come. It is an exciting time to be a building designer.
Teather Walls Architects have been extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to research this subject in depth in recent years, working closely with specialist environmental and acoustic consultants, and to have had the opportunity to put theory into practice in both major and more modest projects - see 'Track Record' below.
Putting theory into Practice
Above - External images of Reepham Sixth Form College
Below - Internal images of Reepham Sixth Form College
The project which best represents where we have got to with low carbon design is the award winning Sixth Form College at Reepham - see photographs above - where we have been closely involved with the school for many years with a high degree of trust established on all sides. This trust has enabled a range of innovative Low Carbon Solutions to be combined with 'Modern Methods of Construction' into a cohesive whole which, whilst it can and will be improved upon, nevertheless sets the standard from which we aspire to progress.
Key low carbon features at Reepham College
- Use of Modern Methods of construction (MMC) to reduce energy useage in the construction process. (The precast conrete frame, concrete 'sandwich' panels, concrete floor and roof slabs were manufactured in efficient controlled factory conditions with consequential embedded energy reduction).
- Close liaison with envromental specialists Cundalls in the design of spaces and natural ventilation systems, backed up by extensive thermal modelling. This demonstrated future proofing against climate change througout the building.
- Maximum reliance on natural lighting
- Maximum reliance on natural ventilation - including ICT suite and LRC suite which houses 120 computers and features a double storey east facing glass wall
- Optimum use of concrete mass for comfort cooling.(The only mechanical cooling installation is a small unit in the server room)
- Extensive use of the NV Advance Windowmaster control system which reads internal and external temp levels, wind speed, C02 to control opening apertures to provide year round comfort conditions and minimise energy consumption
- Roof designed for cost effective future installation of photovoltaic membrane to East and West elevations
Our Track record
2011 - Installation of retro-fitted Wind Turbine at Reepham High School and College as part of Reepham Challenge Community Project
2010 - Contract Close on Cambridgeshire BSF – acting as Bid Manager for Galliford Try. Incorporates an extensive range of passive energy saving techniques
2010 - Installation of retro-fitted Evalon Solar PV roof at Reepham Sixth Form College as part of Reepham Challenge Community Project
2009 - Opening of Reepham Sixth Form College - Incorporates an extensive range of passive energy saving techniques. The project was the first in the UK to feature the use of Tarmac Precast sandwich wall panels supplied to site with integrated insulation - Nov 2010 Concrete Magazine.
2009 - Contract Close on Parc Prison PFI Expansion – acting as Bid Manager for Galliford Try. Incorporates underfloor heating and cooling system, using ground source heat pumps with reverse cycle facility for summer cooling
2006 - Research commission - ‘Sustainable Design and the BSF programme’ - a technical and design exploration of low carbon design and renewable energy - a welcome link to AT post graduate thesis carried out in 1973
2005 - New Science Block for Reepham High School - Integrates cross and stack ventilation techniques to avoid the need for mechanical ventilation other than to fume cupboards
2005 - Research commission – ‘Offsite Construction techniques and Supply chain’ - a welcome link to Andrew Teather post graduate thesis carried out in 1973
2000 - Football Academy Concept - Sustainable design in a rural setting - naturally ventilated naturally lit envronment with seamless integration into landscape - commercially tested and viable design principles remain valid and suitable for a range of buildings in rural settings in 2011
1973 - BArch (Post graduate thesis ‘Towards a design approach to obsolescence in building’ - a technical and design exploration of off site construction techniques, low carbon design and renewable energy )